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R. R. P. P. 

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Garden River, Ontario. 






THE Spirit of St. Ignatius is the translation of a 
work published in French by the Reverend Father 
Xavier de Franciosi, of the Society of Jesus. His 
sub-title indicates the object of the book. It is, 
" The thoughts, feelings, words, and actions of the 
Founder of the Society, collected and arranged." 
It seemed a great pity that so excellent and edifying 
a book should not be in the hands of the English 
reader, and therefore, with Father de Franciosi s 
kind consent, it is now translated. 

In one respect the original differs from this 
translation. It contains, in every instance, the 
references to the authors from whose books the 
various passages are taken. The French original 
is a very accessible book, and any one desiring to 
verify any passage can easily have recourse to it. 
The references are here entirely omitted, and the 
only reason why it is necessary to say so is that 


this accounts for the similarity of a few paragraphs, 
where the same or kindred matter is taken from 
different sources. 

The charity of the reader will lead him to 
multiply prayers that the Spirit of St. Ignatius 
may be poured out in its fulness upon all those 
who owe to that great Saint the Rule of life 
under which by God s blessing they strive to serve 
God in the pursuit of sanctity and perfection. 



I. ON FAITH .... i 

II._ ON HOPE -4 

III. ON THE LOVE OF GOD . . . . . -14 


V. ON HUMILITY . . . . .35 

VI. ON POVERTY . . 52 


VIII. ON OBEDIENCE ....... 61 

IX. ON PRUDENCE . - . . . . 92 

X. ON JUSTICE . . . .... . . 103 

XI. ON STRENGTH . . 134 


XIV. ON PRAYER ... . . ... .197 

XV. ON PENANCE . . 223 

XVI. ON CROSSES . . 232 


XVIII. ON TEMPTATIONS . . . . . . . 245 

XIX. ON SIN . . . 293 



XXII. ON DIVINE GRACES . . . . . . 308 





XXVII. ON THE END OF MAN . ..- . . . 421 





1. There is only one Catholic Church. As the- 
Bridegroom is One, the bride is one also. 

There was only one Noah s ark, outside which no 
one was saved at the Deluge ; there was only one 
tabernacle constructed by Moses, only one Temple at 
Jerusalem built by Solomon for sacrifice and for 
worship ; only one Synagogue the sentences of which 
were legal. 

2. Outside the Church there is nothing good. Who 
ever is not united with this mystical body will not 
receive from its Head, Jesus Christ, Divine grace which 
vivifies the soul and prepares it for everlasting life. 

3. Laying aside all private judgment, we ought to 
keep our minds prepared and ready to obey in all 
things the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our 
holy mother, the Hierarchical Church. 

4. All Jesus Christ s faithful people should cling to 
the opinions of the Church, and consult her when they 
meet with anything ambiguous or obscure. 


5. Far from disapproving of what is the custom 
among Catholics, we should always have reasons 
ready to defend it. 

6. In order to be free from all error, we should 
conform our private way of looking at things to that 
of the Church, so as to hold what seems to us white 
to be black, if the Hierarchical Church pronounces 
it so. 

For this end we must be convinced that between 
Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His 
bride, there is one and the same spirit, which governs 
and directs us to the salvation of our souls ; and that 
our holy mother the Church is guided and ruled by the 
same Spirit and Lord that gave the Ten Command 

7. Positive and scholastic theology cannot be too 
highly praised. 

As it is the special work of the positive Doctors to 
excite the affections and to lead men to love and serve 
God with all their might ; so it is rather the object 
of the scholastic Doctors, to define and explain more 
exactly, in conformity with the wants of our times, 
what is necessary for salvation, the better to attack and 
to expose the errors and fallacies of the enemies of the 
Church. The saying of Luther is well known : " Get 
rid of Thomas, and I will rid you of the Church." 

8. However enlightened we may be, we should never 
judge of Divine things from a human point of view ; 
but we ought always to submit our judgment to the 
principles of faith, and to the authority of the Church, 
since it is not right that things which are certain should 
be regulated by those which are doubtful, and on the 
contrary, it is reasonable that things which are doubtful 
should be decided by such as are certain. 


g. With regard to religion, the most pleasing novel 
ties are often the most dangerous. 

The reasons which support a doctrine do not render 
it Catholic ; and until the Church has decided what is 
to be believed concerning such opinions, we should be 
careful neither to condemn them, nor to speak favour 
ably of them. This is the advice sent by St. Ignatius 
to Fathers Lainez, Salmeron, and Le Jay, during their 
stay at Trent at the time of the Council. 

10. All that proceeds from heretics should be 
suspected, especially books, however good they may 

When one reads a good book by a bad man, one is 
insensibly drawn towards the author, sometimes even 
so far as to think all that he has written to be reason 
able and orthodox. 



1. In all that you have to do, this is the chief rule 
to follow : trust yourself to God, while acting as if the 
success of each thing depended entirely upon yourself 
and not upon God ; yet, while using all diligence in 
order to succeed, depend no more upon your effort, than 
as if God was to do all and you nothing. 

2. When we put the service of God before the care 
for our own interest, God furthers our affairs much more 
than we could have done if we had thought first of our 

He who wishes for a happy issue to his projects, 
with the view of glorifying God, should be on his guard 
against both the darkness and the light which come to 
us from earth ; the darkness will diminish his courage 
by terrifying him with vain phantoms: the light will 
suggest a prudence which will urge him to be too wise. 

Nevertheless, this does not mean that we are to act 
rashly, and to count on miracles to get us out of our 
difficulties, but we should regulate our confidence in 
God by this infallible principle, that His will and 
power are not subject to ordinary laws, and that when 
we labour for Him, we should be wrong if we were to 
limit our expectations to the results which might be 
hoped for from human weakness reduced to its own 


Before coming to a decision, it is necessary on the 
one hand to rest everything upon God, as if He alone, 
by a miracle, would bring about the desired result ; and, 
on the other hand, we must neglect nothing which may 
contribute to success, while both in the choice and in 
the use of means, we should leave no stone unturned, 
as if success depended entirely upon our work and our 

3. Infinite Goodness is supremely communicative of 
its gifts, and Eternal Love is more prompt in giving us 
holiness than we are in asking for it. 

4. The love which our Lord has for us causes His 
providence to direct all things for us better than we 
could ask or even desire. 

5. We are much sooner tired of receiving our Lord s 
gifts than He is of bestowing them upon us. 

6. It is beyond all doubt that, on His side, Jesus 
Christ will never fail us in anything, provided He finds 
in us the humility which makes us capable of receiving 
His gifts, the wish to possess them, and the prompti 
tude to co-operate with His grace. 

7. There are very few persons, perhaps none, who 
thoroughly understand how much we obstruct God 
when He desires to work in us, and all that He would 
do for us if we did not hinder Him. 

8. God has laid upon all creatures the law of 
serving us, not even excepting the hierarchies of 
celestial spirits, for they are all, as St. Paul says, 
"ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who 
shall receive the inheritance of salvation." 

9. It belongs to the Divine Goodness to defend most 
vigorously what the devil attacks most violently ; to 
strengthen and consolidate what he endeavours to 


upset ; to reward by a superabundance of consolations 
the generous acts the performance of which cost us the 

10. We cannot expect too much from Him to Whom 
it costs no more to perform than to will. 

11. The weakness of the instrument can in no wise 
fetter Divine Omnipotence. 

12. " God can do more to save me than the whole 
world can do to ruin me, and you will see this when 
the time comes." By these words St. Ignatius reassured 
one of his friends who came to tell him that a person of 
very high position was strongly prejudiced against him, 
and that he had everything to fear from him. 

13. Things possess the full worth which God gives 
them, and they cannot have any other. 

14. " We should trust so firmly in God as, in case 
of need, not to hesitate to think ourselves capable of 
traversing the ocean on a mere plank for want of a 
ship." Such was the trust of St. Ignatius, when at 
Venice, on the point of starting for Jerusalem, he had 
reason to fear that he would not find a ship. 

15. Are you ignorant of the power which confidence 
possesses ? 

Do you not know that He to Whom it costs only to- 
will in order to perform, cannot fall short of means ? 

If we were provided with everything, or if we were 
to see clearly how to escape from our difficulties, what 
would become of the hope which we should place in 

You forget in what consist the nature and vigour of 
the virtue which the Apostle places second among the 
theological virtues, a virtue which has no exercise when 
everything is manifest and certain : since the Apostle 


says: " But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what 
a man seeth, why doth he hope for ? " 

We need not then fear that He Who feeds the birds 
of the air, and Who clothes the lilies of the field so 
richly, which neither sow nor reap, and which do not 
gather into barns, will ever allow those who labour in 
His vineyard, without any salary, to want for what is 

By these words Ignatius answered those who 
wondered how, during a time of general distress, poor 
as he was, and without certain help, he succeeded in 
providing for the subsistence of so many persons, whose 
support necessarily required considerable outlay. 

1 6. When spiritual good increases, there is every 
reason to expect that also, and in the same degree, 
temporal good will increase. 

17. St. Ignatius never refused admission into the 
Society to any of the candidates who presented them 
selves, when he recognized a true vocation, and he often 
said on this subject : " Let us only occupy ourselves in 
serving God, He will most certainly take care of us, 
and we shall want nothing. Let us cast all our cares 
upon the Lord, and He will supply us with the neces 
saries of life. Let us trust in Him, let us do good, 
and His treasures will be our inheritance." 

1 8. When founding the Roman College, Ignatius 
had nothing but debts, and the bad times did not allow 
him to count upon earthly help ; notwithstanding this, 
he received a large number of students. One of the 
Fathers wondering at what he considered rashness, he 
answered him thus : " We ought to act so ; in this 
manner we must steer against the winds and the tide, 
and the more desperate our circumstances are, the 
greater must be our hope in God." 


19. Father Nicholas Bobadilla asking him one day 
in extreme surprise, how he intended to maintain so 
numerous a household, the Saint gave him a detailed 
account of the assistance which he received from pious 
persons ; but the Father represented to him that all 
this would not cover the half of the expenses. " And 
are we not to depend upon God for anything? " said 
the Saint. " Are we only to trust in Him so far as the 
piety of these charitable souls permits us to do so ? For 
my part, I feel assured of finding in the hands of God 
whatever is wanting to me from the hands of men ; and 
if from them -I received no help, God would give me all 
that was necessary." 

20. The Roman College already contained twenty- 
eight Fathers, when Ignatius ordered the Rector to 
prepare chambers, furniture, and provisions for other 
Fathers whom he expected shortly, and who would 
increase the number to one hundred. For the execution 
of this order nothing remained but five ducats, and 
these were in hand not because they were the surplus 
of their expenses, but because they were of light weight. 
When the preparations were completed, the Saint went 
to visit the establishment, and was satisfied with every 
thing except a barn, transformed into a large room, pro 
vided with beds, seats, and tables. Turning to the 
Rector who accompanied him, he said : " Father ! Are 
you going to lodge our Brothers there ? Are they to be 
exposed in this way to the severity of the approaching 
winter ? Where is the ceiling ? Must they sleep under 
the tiles?" "Father," replied the Rector, "we have 
no money, and we can borrow no more." " Have 
the ceiling made, notwithstanding," answered Ignatius. 
" God wishes us to live poorly, but not so miserably 
as you condemn us to do ; He will provide for the 
necessities of His servants. Is there not enough money 


in the coffers of the Lord to underdraw this barn, so as 
not to leave us to sleep in the open air ? Do you not 
know that the hope which rests on God attains what it 
expects from Him ? " Abundant help speedily arrived, 
and in an unexpected manner. 

21. The purveyor of the Roman College being very 
short of money and not knowing how to obtain sub 
sistence for his community, came to Ignatius to tell 
him the state of the case. Ignatius retired to his room 
and prayed, after which he returned and said to the 
Father: " I am neither a prophet, nor the son of a 
prophet, yet I tell you that I cannot doubt that God 
will come to our aid when a seasonable moment arrives. 
Have patience for a few months longer, and you will 
be freed from your difficulties." 

22. War having broken out, and famine having con 
sequently begun to be felt in Rome, even among the 
rich, the Father who had to provide for the Roman 
College, not knowing how to feed the students, came to 
Ignatius and proposed to him to diminish their number. 
The Saint would not hear of it, and resources never 
failed, which caused one of the Fathers to say to the 
servant of God that their existence was a miracle. 
Ignatius answered him : " The miracle would consist in 
its not being so, for it would truly be a miracle were 
God to leave without aid those who confide in Him 
alone. Have you lived so long without observing that 
our resources have always increased in proportion to 
our necessities ? Let us then devote ourselves to the 
service of God, and leave to Him the care of providing 
for our wants. For my part, were it necessary, I should 
as readily receive a thousand students more, as the last 
hundred ; it is as easy for the Lord to procure sub 
sistence for a thousand as for a hundred." 


23. When Ignatius proposed to his first companions 
that they should be joined together and form a religious 
order, he said to them amongst other things : "I am 
aware that we are attempting a very hazardous under 
taking, and I foresee that in order to succeed we shall 
have to overcome many obstacles, but these obstacles 
cannot make me abandon my design, because they can 
easily be surmounted by Him in Whom alone I have 
put my trust. If the fear of encountering opposition 
and of receiving a check had hindered those two great 
Patriarchs of religious life, Dominic and Francis, in 
their glorious project of founding new Orders, what 
brilliant learning, what precious examples, and what 
treasures of merit the world would have lost, of how 
many faithful children would the Church on earth 
have been deprived, and of how large a number of the 
blessed in Heaven would she have had to regret the 
loss ? If I perceive many motives for fear, I discover 
a far larger number for hope." 

24. He who proposes to do great things for God, 
should beware of seeking to be too wise and of consult 
ing only his head and his hands, I mean his ability, and 
his personal resources. 

If the Apostles had had regard to such considera 
tions, they, so few in number, so devoid of knowledge, 
and so mean outwardly, would never have set about the 
mighty enterprise, beyond all human power, of the con 
version of the world, of conquering for Jesus Christ the 
princes and learned men of earth by means of a cross. 

Nevertheless they dared to do this, and even more, 
with a courage which was all the greater because they 
were under no delusion as to their utter inability to pro 
duce such a result. The reason was that they were 
certain of succeeding through the help of Him Who had 
purposely chosen mean persons, without learning or 


position, in order to be in them, and to accomplish by 
them, what they were and what they performed. 

St. Francis Xavier carried to the far-off Indies this 
great maxim of his Master, which he wrote as follows 
in a letter to Europe : " I have always present to my 
mind what I have often heard my excellent Father 
Ignatius say, that We should strive with all our might 
to drive far away from us all fear which would deter 
us from having perfect trust in God. " 

25. The Marquis de Sarria, Ambassador of the 
Catholic King, received Ignatius rather coldly one day 
when he visited him. This coldness was caused by the 
Saint seeming not to rely sufficiently upon the Marquis 
on certain occasions where the interests of the Society 
were concerned. On leaving, Ignatius said to his com 
panion, Father Ribadeneira : " This excellent nobleman 
would like to take the place of Providence with regard 
to us ; but I shall tell him frankly that God taught me 
thirty years ago, that in what concerns His service, I 
ought to neglect none of the human resources of which 
I can avail myself, but while so doing I should put 
my trust in the Lord only, the sole Author of every 
good, and not in the help which His creatures can 
afford me. If the Ambassador will content himself 
with being one of the Lord s instruments with regard 
to us, well and good, and I will gladly make use of him, 
but on the condition that he must understand that we 
do not consent to avail ourselves of the interest of the 
great, to the prejudice of the trust which we should 
have in God." 

26. "I have an earnest desire that the three virtues 
of Faith, Hope, and Charity should accompany me in 
my voyage, but that they may do so, I can take no one 
besides. If I were to travel with other companions, I 
should run the risk of having these virtues separated: 


from me, and of being deprived of their society. If 
another were to travel with me, when I was hungry, I 
should turn to my companion, I should be liable to 
apply to him to the prejudice of the trust which I owe 
to God, and, by wounding that virtue, I might have the 
sorrow of seeing it depart from me. If I were to fall,, 
my companion would come to my assistance, he would 
give me his hand, and help me to rise, I should be 
obliged to him for his services, and perhaps, in conse 
quence, the affection which I might conceive for him 
would lead me to diminish in proportion that which I 
had vowed to God, and to which He has every claim." 
When the servant of God set out for the Holy Land, 
several persons entreated to be allowed to accompany 
him in his pilgrimage, alleging that, having to traverse 
distant and unknown countries, of which he did not 
know the language, he could not risk the danger of 
going alone. The Saint, on the other hand, wishing 
to place himself under the necessity of trusting abso 
lutely to the good care of Providence, would not hear 
of such a proposal, and gave the answer just quoted to 
a near relation of the Duke de Cardona, who pressed 
him more urgently than the others. 

27. On the same occasion, the master of the ship, 
having for charity granted a free passage to Ignatius, 
wished him to provide himself with provisions for the 
voyage from Barcelona to Gaeta. The Saint, who 
had expected to live upon what he should obtain by 
begging while on board, thought it an insult to God 
to accede to such a proposal, and he could not bring 
himself to do so. He said to himself, " Where is, 
then, the firm trust which thou hadst that the Lord 
would not allow thee to want for anything? Is not 
God able to feed His pilgrim ? " The intervention of 
his confessor was necessary in order to overcome his 


resistance. He went, therefore, from door to door to 
beg provisions for his voyage ; yet, though he took with 
him on board the bread which had been given him, he 
did not do the same as to the money which he had 
received. Not wishing to give it to the sailors, lest his 
liberality should cause them to have some consideration 
for him, he left it on the shore at the disposal of the 
first beggar whom Providence should cause to pass that 

28. " It is better to pass for a madman in the opinion 
of men than to weaken in the slightest degree the trust 
due to God." Ignatius, when leaving Rome to embark 
at Venice, had been constrained by the importunity of 
his friends to accept some pieces of gold for his journey ; 
his compliance soon appeared to him to be a want of 
trust in God, and he thought only of repairing what he 
then considered to be a fault. He therefore gave away 
all that he had received, animating himself with the 
thought which is given above. 

29. When the devil assails our souls with thoughts 
of distrust, and seeks to make us pusillanimous, then is 
the time to rouse our courage by the remembrance of 
the benefits and the mercy of God, considering with 
what love and what longing He waits for us to save us. 



1. " All to the greater glory of God." Suarez 
remarks that in his Constitutions alone, St. Ignatius 
repeats these words three hundred and seventy-six 

2. Prefer the glory of God to all else. Let the 
infinitely good God be the end of your thoughts, words, 
and actions. Refer all temporal things to this end, and 
never fail to give the first place to the observance of 
God s commandments ; this is what He requires, and 
this alone. 

3. For ever blessed and praised be God our Creator, 
from Whose infinite liberality we have received every 
good and every grace. 

4. There does not exist amongst men, nor even 
amongst angels, a nobler exercise and more excellent 
work than that of glorifying God, first in ourselves, and 
then in other creatures, bringing them back to Him as 
far as possible. 

5. How small is the number of those who seek, not 
their own interest, but the interest of Jesus Christ ! 

6. Lord, what do I desire except Thee, what could 
I wish for beside Thee ? 

7. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, O my God ! 
With them I am rich enough, and I ask nothing more. 


8. Let us preserve and develope within us, with all 
possible care, charity, which is like the soul of our 
soul and the life of our spiritual life. As the soul 
gives life to the body, so when we have charity it urges 
the soul to advance further and further in the way 
of the Lord. 

9. How poor earth seems to me when I look at 
heaven ! 

10. It seems to me that if God were to condemn me 
to everlasting fire for my sins, the torments of Hell 
would be less intolerable to me than the blasphemies 
which I should hear the reprobate utter against God. 

11. I ask that I may rather lose life itself, than 
ever offend the infinite goodness in anything, or relax 
however little in His service, or grow careless as to 
His glory. 

12. " Life would be unbearable to me if I were to 
discover in the depths of my soul some remains of 
what is human and which did not belong entirely to 
God." Ignatius had without doubt attained to this 
sublime and highest degree of charity which transforms 
in God him who possesses it. He lived, as it were, 
more in God than in himself. " They can take away 
my life," he said, "but the united efforts of heaven, 
earth, and hell, could not tear from my soul the love 
of God." One of his dearest friends once received 
from him this confidence: " If I were reduced to the 
powers of nature alone for the support of my existence, 
I should soon die." After his death, the doctors seemed 
to give witness to the same effect, declaring that the 
prolongation of his life could not have taken place 
without a miracle. 

13. It is not enough for me to serve God, all hearts 
must love Him, and all tongues bless Him. 


14. Towards the close of his life, notwithstanding 
his important occupations and his failing health, 
Ignatius laboured hard to reclaim public sinners from 
their evil life. He himself went to find them in their 
infamous resorts, and conducted them through the 
streets of the city to a house of refuge founded by him 
to shelter them on their repentance. In vain were repre 
sentations made to him that all his care was useless, 
and that after a few days of penitence more or less 
sincere, these unfortunates would not fail to return to 
their scandalous life. He would not relax in his work, 
saying: "If, as the price of the trouble I have taken, 
and of greater still, if, by the labours of a whole life, 
I should succeed in inducing one of these poor women 
not to offend the Divine Majesty, were it only for some 
hours, I should esteem myself happy, and think myself 
more than sufficiently paid." 

15. One day when Ignatius was conversing with 
Father Lainez, he said to him : " What would you do, 
Master Lainez, if God were to say to you : * If you 
are willing to die this moment, I will remove you from 
the prison of your body and will give you eternal glory ; 
but if you prefer to remain on earth, I do not assure 
you of your salvation, and you will remain in uncer 
tainty as to your perseverance and your future fate. 
While you continue to live, if you persevere in what 
is good, I will reward you; if, on the contrary, you 
abandon virtue, I shall judge you according to the state 
in which I shall find you at the time of your death. If, 
I say, our Lord were to speak thus to you, and if it 
were to occur to you that by remaining in the world 
you might render service to the Divine Majesty, which 
would you choose?" "I confess, Father," replied 
Lainez, " that I should choose unhesitatingly to die 
that instant in order to enjoy God, to make sure of my 


salvation, and to deliver myself from all anxiety in a 
matter of such importance." " As for me," replied the 
Saint, " I should certainly not do so, and if I considered 
that by continuing to live I could in any way further 
God s glory, I would beseech Him to prolong my life 
until I had rendered Him such service ; I should have 
regard solely to the interests of God, and not at all to 
my own, and I should not trouble myself about the 
danger to which I was exposing myself. After all," 
he added, " it seems to me that I should risk nothing." 

1 6. Let them tear my body into a thousand pieces, 
and let me be kept in the fires of Purgatory until the 
Last Judgment, I shall rest satisfied, provided that at 
such a price I succeed in causing one sinner to love 

17. There is only one lawful ambition, which is that 
of loving God, and the reward of this love is to love 
Him ever more and more. 

1 8. Love consists much more in deeds than in 
words. God is a skilful money-changer; bad money 
does not pass current with Him, and in His eyes our 
words have only the value of our actions. 

19. There is nothing sweeter than to love God, but 
the greatest sign of love is to suffer for what one loves ; 
to suffer for God is therefore true joy, it is supreme 

20. " What is more desirable for me than to suffer 
for Jesus Christ and to die in order to save souls?" 
Ignatius answered thus when warned that he might 
expect death if he continued to occupy himself with 
a good work which had already endangered his life. 

21. Sufferings endured for the love of Jesus Christ 
should be reckoned amongst God s greatest benefits. 


22. When Ignatius was in prison at Salamanca, 
a magistrate could not conceal from him the pity which 
he felt at seeing him reduced to such a condition. The 
Saint immediately replied : " I will repeat what I said 
just now to a noble lady who pitied me much for what 
she thought a great misfortune, but which I consider 
the height of felicity. If you loved God with your 
whole heart, you would understand that all earthly 
delights are not to be compared with suffering for God. 
Is it such a great misfortune to be a prisoner ? Believe 
me, there are not so many chains and fetters at 
Salamanca, but that I wish for many more for the 
love of Him for Whose honour I wear this, which alone 
appears to you too heavy for me." 

23. On the same occasion, some nuns having written 
to console Ignatius, deploring the bad treatment which 
he had undergone, he answered them : " I am surprised 
that Christians, who cannot be ignorant of the mystery 
of the Cross, should not value more highly the precious 
treasures which persecution contains ; for my part, 
I tremble with joy and I have an ardent desire to 
suffer much more in my Master s cause." 

24. Later, having occasion to write to the King of 
Portugal concerning his imprisonment of forty-four days 
at Alcala, and that of twenty-two days at Salamanca, 
he expressed himself thus : " The Lord Who created 
me and Who is to judge me is my witness in this : 
I would not for all the power and riches under heaven 
that what I have just described should not have befallen 
me, and my desire now is that much more may happen 
to me in the future, for the greater glory of His Divine 

25. He who has God in his heart, carries Paradise 
with him wherever he goes. 


26. Nothing is wanting to him who has God, though 
he possess nothing else. God being all good, every 
good thing comes to us necessarily with Him. 

27. Nothing really grievous can happen to him who 
possesses God, because his Divine treasure cannot be 
snatched away from him against his will, and all 
trouble, of whatever kind, proceeds from the loss of 
a beloved object, or from the fear of losing it. 

28. When I serve the followers of my dear Master, 
I know that it is my adorable Saviour Himself Whom 
I serve. 

29. While Ignatius was studying at Barcelona, 
although his host asked him to share his table, he 
chose to continue living upon alms begged from door 
to door after the classes were over. When he received 
more than was strictly necessary for his subsistence, 
he distributed the rest to the poor, giving them the 
best, and reserving for himself the worst. One day the 
wife of his host reproached him kindly with this. 
Ignatius answered: " Would you do otherwise if Jesus 
Christ were to hold out His hand to you ? Would you 
have the courage to give Him the worst ? Would 
you not press Him to. accept the best?" 

30. I desire earnestly, and more than earnestly, if 
I may so say, that true charity should more and more 
become perfect in you, in order that I may ever love 
and serve you more, because to serve the servants of 
my Master is my glory and my honour. 

31. The true measure of the love which I can have 
for a soul in this life, is the help which I can afford it 
in serving and glorifying God. 

He does not love God with all his heart who loves 
anything for itself and not for God. 


32. You say that you entreat me in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, to take care of your soul. This 
adorable Master gave me some years ago, without any 
merit on my part, very earnest desires to do all in my 
power to please those who are walking sincerely in the 
way of His good pleasure, and to serve those who are 
labouring as they ought in His service. 

33. " He who knows what God is, does not need 
the sight of heaven and the stars in order to look up 
to His Creator, and to be instantly inflamed with love 
to Him ; a blade of grass is sufficient, or the lowest 
of the creatures which meet his eye." In order to be 
wrapt in ecstasy, Ignatius needed only the sight of a 
flower or the song of a bird. 

34. To live long on earth is cruel torture, unless 
love makes us live more in heaven and with God than 
on earth and with ourselves. For this manner the 
sun s rays continue to live in their centre though they 
shine beyond, and are not separated from it though 
shed over the world. 

35. You are forming projects for next month ! You 
are anxious about next year ! How is this ? What 
encourages you to think that you have so long to live ? 

Since the uncertainty of life allows us to have the 
sweet hope of going to enjoy God much sooner, why 
do you take pleasure in promising yourself a delay 
which you may not have, and which if you were to 
have it, might cause you inconsolable grief? 

36. What I desire above all, is that you should 
exercise yourselves in the pure love of Jesus Christ,. 
in the desire for His glory and for the salvation of the 
souls which He has bought so dearly. 

37. The object of our love being infinite, that love 
can always increase and become more and more perfect. 


38. " Go and set the world on fire." Ignatius took 
leave of his brethren with these words when they set 
out for the missions. 

39. " We must love God with all our heart, with all 
our soul, and with all our will." Ignatius ended all 
his catechisms thus. 

40. When Father Lainez and his companions went 
to Trent at the time of the Council, Ignatius desired 
them earnestly to use every effort to inflame all hearts 
with the love of their Creator and Lord, and for this 
purpose to explain in their preaching and on every 
occasion the real meaning of the commandment which 
prescribes this love. He himself explaining with all 
possible care what it is to love God with the whole 
heart, said: "To love God with the whole heart is to 
love Him with all the powers of the soul, the memory, 
the understanding, and the will. To love God with 
the memory is first, to call to mind all the spiritual and 
temporal blessings which we have received from Him ; 
next, to remember His commandments and those of 
His Church ; lastly, not to forget that we must only 
allow the body what is necessary in order to enable it 
to aid the soul in performing good works. To love 
God with the understanding is to meditate attentively 
upon what the memory puts before us which is calcu 
lated to kindle the love of God within us. To love 
God with the will is to praise Him and to strive to 
please Him in all our actions, so as to be ready to lose 
the whole world rather than commit one sin." 

41. Let us endeavour to have a right intention, not 
only in general, but also in all our separate actions, 
sincerely proposing to ourselves in each of them to 
render service and to please the Divine Goodness for its 
own sake, and on account of the charity and special 
benefits with which it has prevented us, rather than 


through fear of chastisement or hope of reward, though 
we should use their help also. 

42. Though we ought to desire principally that men 
should serve God from the motive of pure love, we 
should nevertheless praise highly the fear of the Divine 
Majesty ; for not only is filial fear pious and very holy, 
but even servile fear, when a man does not attain to 
anything better or more useful, helps him much in 
abandoning mortal sin ; and when he has given up 
mortal sin, he easily arrives at filial fear, which is 
pleasing and dear to God, because it is inseparably 
united with His love. 



1 . I earnestly recommend to you the virtue which 
includes all others, the virtue which our Lord made 
His great precept since He has said : " This is My 
commandment, that you love one another." 

It is not even enough if you continue to love and 
cherish one another, you must extend this love and 
care to all men, unceasingly exciting within you, as far 
as you can, ardent longings for their salvation by the 
thought of the Blood and the Death of Jesus Christ. 

2. He has no right to consider himself the friend of 
Jesus Christ who cares nothing for the souls which He 
has redeemed at the price of shedding His Blood. 

3. The good which you cannot do to God, because 
He has need of nothing, you should do to your neighbour,, 
for the love of God. 

4. Love men however perverse they may be ; love 
in them the faith which they had, even if they have 


completely lost it ; love the virtues which they formerly 
possessed ; love the Blood of Jesus Christ with which 
they have been dyed, and which He shed to redeem 
them from the slavery of sin and from the tyranny of 
the devil. 

5. A man whom Ignatius knew, was living a bad 
life, and in order to withdraw him from it, the Saint 
had used all divine and human reasons, but without 
success. He was not discouraged, but having found 
out the road which this man took to go to the object 
of his passion, he went to wait for him near a pond 
which the cold of that season had almost completely 
frozen. As soon as he perceived the man, he took off 
his clothes, plunged into the water up to his neck, and 
said to him : "Wretched man, where are you going? 
Where are you going ? Do you not hear the thunder 
which is rolling over your head ? Do you not see the 
sword of divine justice ready to strike you ? . . . Very 
well ! Hasten to seek vicious pleasures, at the peril of 
your life and of your soul : as for me, I will remain here, 
and I will expiate by the sufferings of my own flesh 
the unworthy gratifications of yours. You will find me 
here on your return, you will find me here every 
evening, until God, Whom I cease not to entreat for 
you, shall put an end to your crimes, or to my life." 

6. If it were necessary to die a thousand times in 
one day in order to save a soul, I should willingly agree 
to do so. 

7. Act with regard to the most grievous sinners like 
a good mother, who exhausts herself in pity for her 
sick child. She caresses it more tenderly, she gives it 
more care, and lavishes upon it greater signs of affec 
tion than if it was in good health. 

8. We are all, without exception, bound by an 
obligation to rejoice at the advantages and successes 


of our neighbour, created in the image of God, and 
redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, His only Son. 

9. We ought to see in others only Jesus Christ, of 
Whom each is the express and living image, that the 
eye, being steadfastly fixed upon so delightful an object, 
may no longer perceive diversity of inclinations, natural 
defects, and perversity, which are all things that, when 
we stop to consider them, excite a kind of repulsion in 
the soul, contract the heart, and cool our affection for 
those whom we ought to love. 

10. Take great care to think well of every one, and 
to love one another. 

11. The more alive a man is to the defects of others, 
the more negligent he is in observing his own. 

12. If your neighbour should happen to fall into 
some fault, which may be the case with any one, let 
that fault serve for a mirror to recognize what is de 
fective in yourself that you may correct it. 

13. Every true Christian should be disposed to take 
in good, rather than in bad -part, an equivocal proposi 
tion advanced by another. 

14. The wicked are very ready to suspect their 
fellow-men. When a man is seized with dizziness, he 
thinks that everything about him is moving, not because 
it is really so, but because of the agitation of the 
humours which trouble his brain. 

15. " Beware of condemning the actions of any 
one : consider rather the intention of your neighbour, 
vdiich is often good and innocent although the outward 
act may appear bad." Far from interpreting in an 
evil sense the actions of his neighbour, Ignatius 
endeavoured to give them, as far as possible, a 
favourable meaning. W 7 hen any one tried to excuse 
the language or the imprudent proceedings of another, 


those whose severity the advocate of charity had not 
succeeded in disarming, used to say to them: "Oh! 
you are giving us one of Ignatius interpretations." 

16. When the action of our neighbour is so clearly 
criminal that it becomes impossible to excuse the 
guilty person, do not condemn him on that account ; 
consider the violence of the temptation which would 
perhaps have caused you to commit the same, or even 
a still greater sin. 

17. Do nothing, write nothing of such a nature as 
to cause rancour or bitterness. 

1 8. If something is asked from you which you con 
sider would be hurtful to you, take care not to grant it ; 
but refuse in such a way as to retain the friendship of 
the person who asks you. 

19. We should not offend any one, particularly those 
who, if they turned against us, would hinder us from 
serving God and our neighbour. 

20. " Whenever we reveal a fault of our neighbour, 
we betray our own." When Ignatius was obliged to 
tell the fault of any one in order to remedy it, he care 
fully avoided disclosing it to any besides those whom 
it was necessary to inform. He once, by chance, made 
known a slight shortcoming of one of his brethren to 
two other Fathers, when it was only strictly necessary 
to tell one of them ; he reproached himself bitterly for 
it, and at once went to seek his confessor to purify his 

21. W 7 hen truth does not accompany charity and 
politeness, there is no real charity nor politeness, but 
deceit and vanity. Never make promises to your 
neighbour which you will not be able to keep ; do not 
pledge yourself to perform to-morrow what you are 
not in a position to do to-day. 


22. Whether you are right or wrong never contradict 
any one; on the contrary, always have regard to the 
opinion of others. 

23. It is not enough to consider God, we must also 
have regard to men with a view to God. 

It is not God only Who beholds our combats while 
we are upon earth, we are a spectacle to the world, to 
angels, and to men. Let us do right not only in the 
sight of God, but also in the sight of men; let us use 
all diligence, let us not spare any effort to merit first, 
and above all, the approbation of God ; then let us be 
careful not to lose the approbation of men for God s 
sake, and not to give cause to any one to complain of 
us that our ministry may not be blamed. 

We should not confine ourselves to looking at what 
zeal for the honour of God, considered in Himself, may 
require, but we should accommodate that zeal to what 
our neighbour s profit demands. 

Zeal for God s honour is neither zeal, nor according 
to knowledge, except when it is exercised for the profit 
of others, when it associates God s glory with the 
salvation of souls, and when it furthers the interests 
of creatures while seeking the glory of the Creator. 

We ought sometimes, if we may so say, to leave 
God in Himself in order to seek God in our neighbour. 
" I will have mercy and not sacrifice," says the Lord. " 

24. In order to save souls, it is well to employ the 
means which the devil uses to ruin them. 

The devil examines carefully the nature of each, 
and searches into his inclinations that he may draw up 
his plan of attack accordingly. He proposes to the 
ambitions in order to win them, honours ; to the selfish, 
riches; to the voluptuous, pleasures. He does not 
even spare spiritually-minded persons, whom he seeks 
to seduce by suggesting to them thoughts which are 


pious at least in appearance. He is careful not to 
unmask his batteries at first, but he advances, he glides 
on noiselessly, he insinuates himself little by little into 
friendship with the soul in order to cast it at last into 
the abyss. 

The same tactics should be adopted by him who 
endeavours to be of use to his fellow-men. He should 
pursue a line of conduct suited to the nature of each, 
at the outset he should shut his eyes to many things, 
he should not seem to disapprove of many others,. in 
order that, having once gained the good-will of those 
whom he desires to lead to God, he may conquer them 
with their own weapons. 

25. Father Oliver Manare complained to Ignatius 
that he was disturbed in his recollection and in his union 
with God, by persons from outside, who often required 
him to go down to the parlour to converse with them 
about their spiritual concerns. The Saint then said to 
him these remarkable words. " Receive with much 
charity those who come to seek from you assistance 
for their souls; only, as soon as you are called, or 
while you are going to the door, take the precaution of 
addressing yourself to God in some ejaculatory prayer,, 
to ask Him to deign Himself to help your visitors. 
Then, think only of directing your thoughts and words 
in such a way as to be useful to them ; if you should 
not feel yourself as recollected as you previously were 
when in your cell, do not trouble yourself about it ; 
the distractions to which you expose yourself in God s 
service cannot injure you." 

26. To leave God for the sake of God, by giving 
up the sweetness of meditation in order to labour for 
the conversion of another, is not a loss, but a great 
gain ; for, besides the merit of the conquest of a soul, 
when we return to prayer God communicates Himself 


much more abundantly to us than if we had been 
occupied only with ourselves. This is what may be 
called, moving in the circle of mutual influence. By 
kindling within us the love of God, meditation excites 
us to draw others to His knowledge and His love ; and 
whilst exciting others to know God and to love Him, 
we become dearer to Him, which causes Him to lavish 
His gifts upon us more and more in meditation. 

Besides, it is possible to deal with our neighbour 
without our mind leaving God ; by the habitual reali 
zation of His holy presence, we find Him, and love 
Him in each person, place, and action. In applying 
ourselves to the good of our neighbour, we should 
endeavour to imitate the guardian angels who, while 
leaving Heaven, do not lose sight of the face of God, 
and whom the cares which they bestow upon mankind 
do not prevent from contemplating and loving their 
Creator unceasingly. 

27. When you labour for the salvation of your 
brethren, and you have diligently performed all that 
depended upon you in order to save one of them from 
perdition, you should remain in peace, whatever may 
be the result of your efforts. If the person whose cure 
you desire should refuse the remedy, do not give way 
to discouragement. Imitate the guardian angels, who 
warn, protect, and incite to good, according to their 
power, those whom God has trusted to their care, 
without experiencing any trouble, or yielding to 
sadness, if these persist in turning a deaf ear, and 
abuse their liberty to harden themselves in evil. 

28. Those whose business it is to labour for the 
salvation of others, should study to be pleasing not 
only to God, but also to men for God s sake ; their 
zeal for the honour of God should be regulated by the 
advantage to their neighbour. 


29. In order to gain the good- will of men with the 
view of doing God service, it is necessary to accom 
modate oneself to each ; nothing is better calculated 
to give us a hold over the minds of others than 
resemblance of tastes and inclinations. 

30. He who hunts souls should pass over many 
things, and act as if he were ignorant of them : having 
thus become master of the will of the person whom he 
desires to lead to virtue, he will guide him as he 

31. In the management of matters, be deeply 
impressed with this maxim : lend yourself to what the 
business requires, and do not expect it to lend itself 
to you, that is, do not consider what suits you, but 
accommodate yourself to the business and yield to 

In order to become a wise fisher for men and to 
gain the whole world, a minister of Jesus Christ should 
behave in such a manner as to make himself all things 
to all men and not please himself, and he should live 
only to Jesus Christ for his brethren. 

32. Considering the disposition of those to whom 
you wish to be useful, there are often works otherwise 
excellent which you will do well to give up, as there 
are many others which you can allow yourself to do, 
provided there be no sin incurred thereby, although 
without this consideration and under other circum 
stances it would be better to abstain from them. 

33. By means of small presents, and by contriving 
little treats for them, even children can be induced to 
practise virtue ; in this they resemble young animals- 
who are mastered by means of the allurement of what 
pleases them. 


34. The charity of Ignatius for his brethren was 
maternal in its tenderness, as may be judged of by 
the following facts amongst others. 

No one was allowed to leave the house to set out on 
a journey without having presented himself before him 
in order that he might see that nothing which was 
necessary was wanting to the traveller. 

At table, although he ate very little, he contrived 
to prolong the meal for the convenience of others, 
cutting his bread into small pieces, and eating the last 
mouthfuls slowly so as to give to every one time to 
satisfy his appetite. 

Towards the close of his life, when the failure of his 
health had obliged him to resign the government of the 
Society, the only one of his offices which he retained 
was the care of the sick. He required that news of 
their state should be brought to him several times a 
day, he took care that the doctor s orders concerning 
them should be exactly obeyed, and in the case of 
negligence he severely reprimanded those whose fault 
it was. One day, the Father Minister and the Infir- 
marian having forgotten to send for a doctor to see 
a Brother, as soon as Ignatius heard of it, although it 
was the middle of the night, he at once sent them to 
fetch one, desiring them not to return without him. 
The lateness of the hour having prevented them from 
entering a house to find one, they were obliged to go to 
a hospital to remain there until the next morning. If 
some one had been bled, he roused himself and got up 
in order to see that the bandage was in its right place. 
In short, there was no sort of care which he did not 
lavish upon the suffering, descending for this purpose 
to the most minute details. It was once represented 
to him that it was not in character with his position 
to employ himself with such trifles, and he answered 
pleasantly: " My brethren are so dear to me, that, if 


it were possible, I should like to know how often 
troublesome insects have disturbed their rest during 
the night." He added: "God has shown me signal 
favour by visiting me often with great infirmities ; from 
these I have learnt to sympathize with the sufferings 
of my brethren, and how to set about relieving our 

In the year 1545, the doctors having forbidden 
Father Ribadeneira to fast, he had some difficulty in 
submitting to their decision, as he feared that he would 
cause scandal to the community. Ignatius was aware 
of it, and he said to Father Ribadeneira : " Will any 
one dare to take scandal at such a thing ? Should not 
such a person thank God rather that he is not reduced 
to the same extremity as you are ? " The same thing 
having occurred the following year, the Saint said 
decidedly that if it came to his knowledge that any 
one had been scandalized on this account, he should 
not hesitate a moment to turn him out of the Society. 

35. It was the close of the year, and the Rector of 
the German College, which was then burdened with 
debts, came to Ignatius to beg him to place him in a 
position to meet his liabilities. At that time, Ignatius 
had to provide for the needs of the Roman College, and 
the Professed House, which had great difficulty in 
repaying what they had borrowed. The Saint first 
allowed the Rector to lay before him his trouble, and 
when this was done, he smiled, saying to him : 
" Christmas is near, Father Rector, will not your 
Germans have some little treats to celebrate the 
festival ? " " Oh ! Father Ignatius," replied the Rector, 
" it will be a great thing if they have bread, the baker 
will not supply us with any more on credit." 
"Courage," replied the Servant of God, "go on. 
Whatever happens, do not fail to buy some kids for 


your young people, take care also to add a little dessert, 
and trust all to God." 

36. However great our difficulties may be for want 
of money, we should spare no expense in order that our 
invalids may not lack anything that they may desire. 

37. The doctor had ordered a Brother Coadjutor to 
have an expensive sort of food which he considered 
necessary for his restoration to health. The steward 
who was charged to purchase it represented to Ignatius 
that he had only three small coins left, which were 
needed for the support of the community for that day, 
Ignatius said to him : " Spend them for the cure of 
our invalid, as for us who are well, it will not kill us 
if we have to content ourselves with a piece of bread." 

38. Two novices, lay-brothers, had just been received 
into the Society, and had hardly entered when they fell 
ill. There were no rooms at liberty, the house being 
then full of invalids, and it was very difficult to give 
them the care which their condition required. It was 
proposed to Ignatius to have the new-comers removed 
to the hospital until they recovered. " Never," replied 
Ignatius. " What ! he who has abandoned everything 
in order to serve God, shall he not find a corner in our 
house to shelter him ! Obtain what is necessary for 
our Brothers without delay. God, for His part, can 
easily provide what we have need of." 

39. The students of the Roman College were very 
much tired in consequence of their great application to 
study, and Ignatius prepared to get a house ready for 
them on the outskirts of the city where they might rest 
from time to time and breathe a little pure air. As 
usual, the Saint had nothing, and it was represented 
to him that before thinking of building, it would be 
more to the purpose to think how to live. Nevertheless , 
he persisted in his project, saying: "The health of 


each of my Brothers is more precious to me than all 
the gold in the world." He added: " When a man is 
ill, he can seldom be useful to others ; when he is well, 
he is able to render them important services." 

40. I like to see the good in sound health and the 
bad fall ill : that the former may use all their strength 
in God s service, and the latter may be obliged through 
excess of misfortune to return to God. 

41. A Spanish religious having sent word to Ignatius 
that he hoped all his children from Perpignan to Seville 
would be burnt as the) 7 deserved, the Saint answered 
the messenger : " Tell Father N that if he desires 
to have all the members of our Society burnt who shall 
be found betvyeen Perpignan and Seville, I desire that 
he, and all his friends, and all who know him, and not 
only the Jesuits from Perpignan to Seville, but also the 
inhabitants of the whole world, should be inflamed, and 
burn with the fire of Divine love, so that they may all, 
leading a most perfect life, distinguish themselves highly 
to the glory of the Divine Majesty." 

42. Those whom our Lord calls to work in His 
vineyard should only place one foot on earth, and keep 
the other always raised so as to be ready to set out 

43. There is nothing which the physicians of souls 
need more than an interior spirit, lest they should risk 
their own salvation by taking care of that of others. 

44. The apostolic labourer should not forget that 
he has to handle not gold but dirt ; let him take great 
care not to contract the leprosy of which he is striving 
to cure others. 

45. He who wishes to be useful to others should 
attend first to himself, and kindle within him the 
charity which he desires to see burn in his neighbour. 



He should be inaccessible to the vain terrors of the 
world, he should avoid ambition as the plague, he 
should have contempt for the attractions of pleasure, 
and for all which flatters the senses, and he should 
drive out from his heart all vicious and dangerous 
inclinations, in order that, freed from all that might 
give rise to disorder and trouble, he may be better 
prepared to receive for himself and to transplant into 
others the seed of Divine inspirations. 

After he has established himself fairly in this condi 
tion he can henceforth, in order to assist others, brave 
the dust and the sun : notwithstanding, let him not 
forget that he has not to deal with perfect men, but 
with a race which, very far from being holy, is often 
deceitful and unjust, and that he lives, as the Apostle 
says, in the midst of a wicked and perverse nation. 
He must, therefore, provide himself beforehand with 
courage, and arm himself with strength against the 
ignominy and the bad treatment which he may have to 
undergo, so that the enormity of the crimes, and the 
baseness of men, may not move nor scandalize him, nor 
their folly and malice, however great they may be, ever 
cause him to separate the simplicity of the dove from 
the prudence of the serpent, nor the prudence of the 
serpent from the simplicity of the dove. 



1. You say that there is in you much ignorance and 
wretchedness, &c. It is a great thing to know that. 

2. In what follows it should be noticed that St. 
Ignatius takes the word humility in a very wide sense. 
Before him, St. Augustine had said : " Pride is the love 
of self even to the contempt of God, humility is the love 
of God even to the contempt of self." 

Humility has three degrees. 

The first degree of humility is necessary for salva 
tion. It consists in abasing and humbling myself 
with all my might, as far as is necessary in order 
to fulfil the law of God in all things : so that, if the 
dominion of the universe were offered to me, or I were 
to be threatened with the loss of my life, I should not 
be induced to deliberate about transgressing any com 
mandment which binds me under pain of mortal sin. 

The second degree of humility is more perfect than 
the first. It consists in being in a state of complete 
indifference of will and affection as to riches or poverty, 
honour or contempt, the desire for a long life or a short 
one, provided that equal honour should accrue to God, 
and the salvation of my soul be equally safe. Moreover, 
if it were a question of gaining the whole world, or 
saving my life, I should not be induced to deliberate 
about committing a single venial sin, 


The third degree of humility is most perfect. It 
includes the first two, and requires besides, that, sup 
posing it to be equally to the praise and glory of the 
Divine Majesty, in order to imitate Jesus Christ more 
perfectly, and to resemble Him more closely, I should 
will and choose poverty with Christ, Who was poor, 
rather than riches ; that I should choose shame with 
Christ loaded with infamy, rather than honour ; that I 
should desire to be considered useless and foolish for 
Christ, Who was first looked upon as such, rather than 
pass for wise and prudent in this world. 

Ignatius had reached this third degree of humility. 
Lucifer declared, by the mouth of a possessed person, 
" that Ignatius had no less humility than he, Lucifer, 
had pride." 

3. Forty years after his death, Ignatius appeared to 
St. Magdalene de Pazzi, and said to her : " I, Ignatius, 
have been chosen by the Mother of your Spouse to treat 
with you of humility. Listen, therefore, to my words. 
Humility should be poured into souls which are newly 
transplanted into religious life as oil is poured into a 
lamp; in the same way that the oil occupies all the 
space within the lamp into which it is poured, so should 
humility and the real knowledge of themselves fill these 
souls and their powers, so that, whichever way they 
turn, to the right hand or to the left, they should meet 
with nothing but humility and gentleness. 

" Besides this, as a lamp cannot burn without oil, so 
also novices will not be able to shine with the perfection 
of holiness, unless, on every occasion, care is taken to 
teach them in what humility consists, and to exercise 
them in the practice of it. They must therefore be 
taught how necessary this virtue is to true religious. 
Humility is the knowledge ever present to their mind 
of what they are, and perpetual joy under what is 


calculated to inspire them with contempt for them 
selves, until all their interior powers shall become 
perfectly well regulated. 

" You should act in such a manner that each of them 
may remain firm and tranquil under the humiliations to 
which they are submitted for this purpose, and you 
should remind each that this was what she aimed at in 
assuming the religious habit. 

" In order that the devil may derive no advantage 
from these trials, the Novice Mistress should use a holy 
artifice. While she endeavours to humble their under 
standing or their will, if she remarks in them any 
repugnance or bad temper, she should repress such 
a fault severely, even though it may be a very slight 
one, and she should not fail to point out how repre 
hensible it is. Nevertheless, in order to lead her 
daughters to love humility, and to desire and to seek 
it alone, while pouring in the oil of mortification let her 
also give them the- balm which will sweeten the bitter 
ness, by showing them how much God is glorified in 
these humiliations, and what precious fruits they may 
draw from them. 

" Humility should show itself outwardly in all their 
words, gestures, and works. Discourse which does not 
savour of humility is as. rigorously forbidden to them as 
blasphemy to the people of the world. They should 
feel the same horror for proud gestures as lay persons 
who are jealous of their reputation do for manners con 
trary to propriety. Works done without humility should 
rouse the same indignation in them which a great 
monarch experienced when he saw his son appear upon 
the boards of a theatre, decked with the tinsel of a 

" The humility of Superiors should be so well 
known by the example which they have given, that 
it ought not to be necessary for them to produce 


acts of it in support of their exhortations and repri 

" Every spouse of Christ, I mean every soul, should 
be such that she can at any time be transplanted, and 
that, regardless of the sweetness and value of the 
fruits which she produces, her Superiors may be at 
liberty to place her sometimes at the bottom of the 
valley and sometimes upon the mountain, even though 
these changes should lessen the esteem in which she had 
hitherto been held. 

" In the edifice of spiritual perfection, religious 
should be like the stones used in the construction of 
Solomon s Temple, on which the Scripture tells us the 
sound of the hammer was not heard. If, notwith 
standing, some of them open their mouth while they 
are being thus formed, let them be led to the fountain, 
and let them be satisfied with a drink composed of 
love and of severity, that they may not be able to 
speak any more, but may sleep a sweet sleep. In the 
case of those who should have difficulty in allowing 
themselves to be thus humbled, let the image of their 
crucified Lord be placed in their hands, showing them 
that they are bound to imitate Him. 

" These exercises of humility must be persisted in 
even until death, and he who has the charge of leading 
souls, should not weary of causing them to practise this 
virtue, as long as their bones and flesh hold together. 

" There is, as it were, a kind of ladder with so many 
steps that the number of those which have yet to be 
mounted is never ended ; and it is necessary, by repeat 
ing the same acts, to begin again from time to time to 
go over the rounds which w r e have already climbed. 

" Souls which have no humility cannot come out of 
themselves, because there arise within them numerous 
passions and all sorts of curiosity which embarrass and 
hinder them. 



" As the Incarnate Word has appointed the Apostles 
fishers of men, so He desires His spouses to be 
charmers of souls. 

" I have fed you sufficiently hitherto with the bread 
of humility, I now leave you to Him Who will give you 
the bread of poverty." If the Queen of Heaven chose 
Ignatius in preference to so many other saints then on 
earth, or who had already entered into glory, in order 
to teach a great servant of God concerning humility, it 
is doubtless because he possessed this virtue in an 
eminent degree. 

4. It is almost always ignorance and blind self-love 
which give rise to vanity. If you are desirous of having 
nothing to dread from this enemy, who has more than 
once overthrown even cedars of Lebanon, strive to 
acquire by the light which God bestows, perfect know 
ledge of what we are, and consequently, a deep and real 
contempt of ourselves. Ignatius, who gives us this 
advice, had practised it so well that he could say : " Of 
all vices that which I fear the least is vainglory." 

5. It would be better to fall by the dagger of a 
murderer than to become the slave of vanity. 

6. After having made a general review of my sins, 
going over my whole life year by year, and having 
weighed the intrinsic malice of each fault of which I 
have been guilty, I will consider what I am, striving by 
various comparisons to appear more and more con 
temptible in my own eyes. Who am I in comparison 
with all men ? W T hat are all men in comparison with 
all the angels and saints in Paradise? What are all 
creatures in comparison with God ? What am I by 
myself? I will then consider all the meanness of my 
body. Next, I will regard my soul as an ulcer full of 
corruption, whence have issued such foulness ; lastly, 
I will strive to know the God Whom I have offended, 


and, in comparison with His wisdom, power, justice, 
and goodness, I will consider my ignorance, weakness, 
iniquity, and malice. 

7. " O my God ! O infinite goodness ! How canst 
Thou endure an abominable sinner like myself ! " Even 
in his ecstasies Ignatius did not lose sight of his 
wretchedness, and his humility made him utter this cry 
of distress. 

8. Although Ignatius valued knowledge highly, he 
could not bear that it should be acquired at the expense 
of humility, and when he perceived that the studies 
to which one of his children had devoted himself had 
aroused vanity in him and given him a taste for novelties, 
he promptly removed him from his studies, even though 
well calculated on account of his talents to succeed in 
them. The following is the reason he gave for his way 
of acting : " He who becomes conceited on account of 
what he learns, is not made to become learned." 

9. " Do not attempt to fly until you have wings." 
These words, which have now passed into a proverb, 
were uttered by Ignatius on an occasion which it is 
interesting to remark. One of his children having set 
up to be a doctor of spiritual life in which he was yet 
but a young student, and having done much harm to 
those whose direction he had undertaken, the Saint 
inflicted upon him a most exemplary penance. The 
presumptuous individual was told to appear before 
the community with a pair of false wings fastened to 
his shoulders, while one of his brethren said to him in 
.a loud voice: "Before you soar aloft, wait until your 
wings grow." 

10. " Do not love the splendour which would cause 
you to shine by casting a shadow upon your rivals ; it 
would cost too much to buy, for the advantage of one, 
some small amount of wretched glory, which would 


displease many and make them consider the confusion 
with which your triumph had covered them as an 
injury." In conformity with this opinion, Ignatius 
several times checked the tongue or the pen of some of 
his children who were disposed to enter into discussion 
with religious of other Orders on disputed points. On 
one occasion especially, he asked Father Olave to with 
draw, from a thesis which he was preparing for the 
press, one of his conclusions which might cause pain 
to those who held an opposite opinion upon that matter. 

ii. We should notice carefully, as a point of great 
importance in the presence of our Creator and our God, 
how useful it is, in order to advance in the spiritual 
life, to have a thorough horror for all that the world 
loves and embraces, and on the other hand to embrace 
and to desire with all our might what our Lord Jesus 
Christ loved and embraced. 

As worldly people, who are guided by the sentiments 
which the world inspires, love and earnestly pursue 
honours, reputation, and fame, as it teaches them to 
do ; so those who are advancing in the spiritual path, 
and who are seriously following Jesus Christ, love and 
ardently desire the opposite to all such things, that is, 
to be clothed with their Master s livery by reason of 
the love and respect which they bear Him, so far that, 
if it were possible, without giving offence to the Divine 
Majesty, and without guilt in their neighbour, they 
would choose to be a mark for insults, affronts, and 
false testimony, to pass for mad, and to be treated as 
such, without, however, having given any occasion for 
it, so much do they desire to resemble in some manner 
our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has set us such an example 
and W r ho chose for our greater spiritual good to endure 
all these things. 

If by reason of our wretchedness and the infirmity 


of our nature we do not experience these burning desires, 
let us at least desire to have the wish for them. 

12. One of the principal Fathers desiring earnestly 
to obtain humility, asked Ignatius which was the 
quickest way of doing so. " It is this," replied the 
Saint: "do in all things the opposite to what worldly 
people do, reject with horror what they seek after, and 
eagerly seek what they reject." 

13. You should wish every one to know you as 
well inwardly as outwardly. Desire to pass for foolish 
in the eyes of all, that God may reckon you as wise. 

14. "In all your works do nothing with the object 
of attracting applause, conduct yourself nevertheless in 
such a manner as not to incur well-merited blame." 
Ignatius was so far from seeking praise that when any 
thing was said in his presence which might turn to his 
advantage, he was silent and his eyes filled with tears. 
This was the case when, after the Conclave at which 
Pope Julius III. was elected, he was asked if it was 
true, which it was, that he had received five votes for 
his own election as Sovereign Pontiff. 

It was commonly rumoured amongst the early 
Fathers that an Archangel had the care of the soul of 
Ignatius. One of his most intimate friends questioned 
him about it and obtained no answer, but the face of 
the Servant of God flushed crimson, as that of a 
young and modest girl might have done, if surprised by 
finding herself in the presence of some one when she 
thought she was alone. 

15. A Brother Coadjutor said one day to another 
Brother that their Father Ignatius was assuredly a great 
Saint, and he really thought so. The Servant of God 
having heard of it, sent for the Brother, reprimanded 
him severely, and gave him a sharp penance, saying to 


him : " I a Saint ! You dishonour holiness by attributing 
it to a sinner like myself ; your words are almost blas 

1 6. Ignatius had been constrained to receive some 
pieces of money, which he accepted at last, on the 
express condition that he might distribute them to the 
needy. Some days later, being in a church at Ferrara, 
he began to say his prayers. A beggar came to him and 
asked alms, when Ignatius gave him a piece of money; 
a second, and then a third beggar having presented 
themselves, Ignatius gave to them also. All the beggars 
in the neighbourhood hearing of this hastened to the 
spot. Ignatius went on giving as long as anything was 
left, then he told those who came. that he had nothing 
more. When his prayers were ended he left the church 
and the poor who were watching him, seeing him ask 
alms for himself, because he had kept back nothing for 
his own use, followed him, crying out: "The Saint! the 
Saint ! " But Ignatius could not bear to be praised thus, 
so he fled away and disappeared. 

17. Some words of this kind perhaps cost the life of 
Father James Eguia. He was an old man of eminent 
virtue, remarkable for penance, and much given to 
prayer. Blessed Father Favre always called him Father 
St. James Eguia, and Ignatius himself said of him : 
" When we reach Paradise, he will be raised so high 
above us that it will be difficult to recognize him." 
He was the Saint s confessor, and in order that he 
might not be without a guide, he disclosed to him with 
simplicity what took place within him. However, 
the venerable old man, though not free to speak, could 
not be altogether silent, and he sometimes allowed 
exclamations to escape from him which made known 
what he dare not say more openly. Ignatius being 
informed of this, not only changed his confessor, which 


mortified the old man extremely, but also reprimanded 
him severely and gave him a sharp penance, recom 
mending him to be more reserved in his speech for the 
future. Notwithstanding this, in spite of his efforts to 
obey, the good Father could not contain himself so 
completely as not to say aloud one day that he hoped 
to survive Ignatius, if only for a few hours, so as to 
be able to reveal, without failing in obedience, all that 
he knew, adding that it would amaze those who heard 
it. This desire of his former confessor reached the 
ears of the Saint ; and it was the opinion of the Fathers 
then alive that Ignatius asked God that such a wish 
might not be fulfilled. However this may be, Father 
Eguia died three days before the Servant of God, and 
it was never known what it was that Ignatius feared so 
much to have revealed. 

1 8. While Ignatius was studying at Alcala, he 
subsisted upon alms collected from door to door, and 
from these he deducted something with which to assist 
the poor whom he had sought out. A rich merchant 
who had known him before at Aspeitia and who was 
then paying a short visit to Alcala, having recognized 
him, followed him after the close of the classes to join 
him. He saw him enter a wretched hovel and come 
out again soon after. The stranger also entered and 
found there a sick person whom he questioned. She 
told him that she was ignorant of the name and position 
of her benefactor, but that he was undoubtedly a Saint, 
that he brought her food every day and spoke to her in 
a wonderful way of God. " Very well," replied the 
stranger, "when he comes again, tell him that there is 
some one who will be very happy to furnish him with 
what he needs for himself and for his poor." When 
Ignatius appeared the next day, the woman gave him 
this message ; but the humility of the Saint was 


alarmed, and he answered her : " My sister, I have 
done my best to relieve you until now ; henceforth God 
will come to your aid in another manner, I earnestly 
commend you to His goodness," and he went away and 
did not return. 

19. At Manresa, Ignatius was reduced to the last 
extremity, he seemed to have almost reached his last 
moments and he prepared to appear before God. 
Suddenly a persistent thought of pride came to assail 
him. "Why should he fear death? Why should he 
not think .himself happy to leave this world ? Was he 
not sure of Heaven ? Had he not made immense 
progress in holiness ? Had he not acquired a precious 
treasure of merits ? His robe of coarse cloth, his hair 
cloth, his iron chain, his stone pillow ! His cave, his 
prolonged fasts, his nights passed in prayer, his bloody 
disciplines ! The earth watered with his tears, was 
not all this more than a sufficient title to beatitude?" 
Ignatius was horrified at these thoughts, and struggled 
generously to repel them ; he placed before himself his 
whole past life and the pains of Hell which he thought 
it deserved, then he spoke thus with himself: " W 7 hat 
proportion is there between so many fearful crimes and 
the penance of a few months?" He begged our Lord 
to grant him forgiveness for his sins and not the reward 
of his good works. He thus conquered the temptation, 
but he retained such a lively impression of terror of it 
that, during his convalescence, when any one came to 
see him, he earnestly entreated his visitors to repeat 
these words to him, if the temptation should again 
present itself: "Wretched Ignatius, dreadful sinner! 
remember thy sins, and the terrible punishment to 
which they condemn thee ; be not so proud as to think 
Paradise thy due, think rather of Hell, and blush with 
shame at having deserved it so often." 


20. When the Society was established as a Religious 
Order, and a General had to be chosen, Ignatius, who 
had been elected unanimously at the first scrutiny, used 
every means to escape from an honour which his 
humility dreaded. He entreated his brethren to annul 
the choice which they had made of him and to agree to 
a new election. In the discourse which he addressed 
to them on this occasion, he said : " I speak to you in 
all sincerity ; I am most unworthy of the charge which 
you wish to confide to me, I possess none of the 
requirements of him who should be your head ; being 
incapable of guiding myself, how could I guide others?" 

21. Ignatius was travelling with Lainez. By the 
way, he met a young shepherd who was keeping his 
flock. The appearance of the poor traveller clothed in 
such a miserable manner struck the boy oddly ; he 
looked at him boldly, burst into fits of laughter, and 
made all kinds of unseemly jokes about him. Ignatius, 
with a calm countenance, instead of going on his way, 
stopped, that the boy might have full opportunity to 
insult him. "Father," said Lainez, "let us go away; 
remove yourself from the insolence of this boor." 
"No," tranquilly replied Ignatius, "he must not be 
deprived of the little recreation which comes to him 
so seasonably." 

22. On his return from Palestine, in order to reach 
Spain, Ignatius had to cross Lombardy, which was 
then desolated by the war which had broken out 
between the French and the Spaniards. In approaching 
a village occupied by the Spaniards, he fell into the 
hands of a party of soldiers belonging to that nation, 
who, taking him for a spy, stripped him of his clothes, 
even to his shirt, and took him to their leader. The 
thought of Jesus Christ, exposed naked to the raillery 
of the Jews, fortified the Servant of God,. but the fear 


of the various kinds of ill-treatment which he would 
probably have to undergo began to move him. It 
occurred to him that if he were to make himself known 
he could easily extricate himself from the affair, and 
that he might at least, by the politeness of his manners, 
make the General hear reason and save himself from the 
tortures and ignominy which he had to fear. However, 
he soon recognized these thoughts as suggestions of the 
demon of pride, and delusions of self-love. He then 
took care not to let slip such an opportunity of abasing 
himself and being despised, and he put on even a more 
stupid and rough air than usual. " Since this is the 
case," he said to himself. " I will not show this officer 
any mark of civility, I will not bow before him, nor 
remain bareheaded in his presence." He behaved in 
this manner, and they, thinking him a fool, ridiculed 
him and let him pursue his way. 

23. Ignatius wished to attract no attention in his 
lifetime, and that after his death the recollection of him 
should be completely effaced from the memory of men ; 
this is the reason why he could never be persuaded 
to have his portrait taken, notwithstanding the many 
entreaties that he would consent to do so. God Him 
self, Who afterwards glorified him so greatly, seemed 
to take part in this, by a kind of miracle, in order to 
further, at least for the time, his wish on this point. 
A Cardinal, who was a friend of his, caused a skilful 
painter to be concealed in his palace, and charged him 
to sketch the features of Ignatius, watching him without 
his knowledge, through a chink in the room, while this 
Prince of the Church conversed with the Servant of 
God. All the efforts of the artist were fruitless, for the 
expression of the Saint s face changed every moment. 

Moreover, if he had been listened to, his corpse 
would have remained unburied, and would have been 


thrown out to decay or to become the food of dogs and 
vultures ; but this time Heaven did not grant his 
desires: "That is all the honour of which I am 
worthy," he said; "being, by reason of my sins, a 
wretched, vile dunghill, I do not deserve other treat 

24. Humility being radically the same thing as 
truth, does not consist in willingly blinding ourselves 
concerning the gifts bestowed upon us by God ; on the 
contrary, it is eager to recognize them, but far from 
thinking itself worthy of them, it attributes them solely 
to the liberality of God, and uses them to excite itself 
to thank Him for them. Ignatius expressed himself in 
these terms, when, in speaking of himself, he thought 
of the graces with which he had been loaded : "I 
cannot persuade myself that there is in the world any 
other mortal in whom extremes meet in the same degree 
as in me, so many sins and so many precious favours ; 
so much ingratitude towards God on my part, and 
on His such remarkable benefits every moment ; so 
many chastisements deserved, and so much mercy 
received." He also said on this subject: " If you are 
obliged to admit that God has done you great favours, 
do not forget that it is gold which the Divine Goldsmith 
has been mercifully pleased to enclose in a shell of 
worm-eaten wood which, of itself, was only fit to be 
cast into the fire." 

25. Far from being puffed up on account of God s 
gifts to him, Ignatius found therein a new and urgent 
motive for humbling himself still further. "When I 
consider," he said, "the graces with which God has 
loaded me, I can only see a proof of my extreme weak 
ness, since it needs so many and such powerful supports 
to keep it upright ; in the same way we become aware 
of the age of a building and of the ruin which threatens 



it, by the multiplicity of the stays the help of which 
prevent it from falling." 

26. Ignatius could not understand that any one 
could succeed in finding anything in him which merited 
the esteem of others, neither could he endure any one 
saying what was to his credit ; to praise him was to 
put him to the torture, and he was in the habit of 
saying : " Those who praise me, scourge me." Placing 
every one far above him and reputing himself the least 
of men, he was heard to repeat : " Every one in the 
house sets me an example of virtue, I am only 
scandalized at myself. . . . Each of my brethren 
possesses the qualities which I am devoid of, there is 
not one who is not a cause of confusion to me. ... I 
never have occasion to treat of the things of God with 
the greatest sinners without receiving much profit for 

27. Oh, how deluded those are, who, thinking 
themselves sufficiently capable, are ambitious of the 
government of souls. v 

28. He who labours for the salvation of his neigh 
bour will succeed much better by being always humble 
and modest, than if he commanded haughtily, and he 
will succeed more promptly by abasing himself than by 

29. In the spiritual life, as in other things, it greatly 
furthers our progress to have some one whom we have 
charged to rebuke us for our faults. Ignatius strongly 
recommended this practice and took advantage of it 
for himself; he received warnings willingly and pro 
voked them when needed, even in matters of little im 
portance. " I was little more than a child," Ribadeneira 
relates, "when I was present at the instructions given 
by Father Ignatius. As I feared that the grand and 


powerful truths which he uttered would lose much of 
their efficacy in the minds of his hearers by reason of 
the foreign idiom, and the unsuitableness of the expres 
sions which his ignorance of the Italian language intro 
duced into his discourses, I took the liberty of telling 
him so, and of advising him to be more careful as to 
his diction. The humble Ignatius answered me with 
admirable gentleness : You are right, Peter, you do 
well to act thus, you are rendering me a real service for 
which I am sincerely grateful to you. I charge you to 
watch me for the future, remark carefully all the 
mistakes which I fall into, and inform me of them in 
order that I may correct myself. " 

30. Those whom high birth, knowledge, or superior 
genius raise above the common crowd, should also be 
more trained than others in self-renunciation, because 
by their words and their actions they are able to effect 
much for good or for evil according as they set an 
example of the one or the other. 

31. If you wish your undertakings to have a success 
ful issue, begin by applying yourself to the lowest works, 
you will thus obtain for those which are higher the help 
of Him Who gives His grace to the humble and refuses 
it to the proud. 

32. He who desires to climb very high and to bring 
to a good end great and difficult works should, before 
all, descend very low ; we must start from the lowest 
step if we wish to reach the highest. The edifice is 
only firm so far as it has humility for its base, the 
<iepth of the foundations must correspond with the 
height of the monument which it is intended to con 
struct. When a man is destined to labour in the Lord s 
vineyard, it is necessary for him to prepare himself by 
humility and the contempt of self, for the important 
ministry which he will have to fulfil. For this reason, 


when sending Xavier and Rodriguez to Portugal, 
Ignatius desired them to beg from door to door, that 
by so doing they might prepare a way to reach souls. 
For the same end, when Salmeron and Brouet set out 
for Ireland, as Apostolic Nuncios, they had orders from 
the Saint to teach Christian doctrine to children and 
to the ignorant. From the same motive, when Salmeron 
and Lainez were deputies at the Council of Trent as 
Theologians of Paul III., Ignatius obliged them to visit 
the hospitals and look after the poor. He himself 
having been constrained to accept the Generalship, 
desired to mark the beginning of his superiority by 
teaching the catechism, and by serving in the kitchen 
for several days, as the Bull for his canonization 

33. " Lord, give me humility, but a humility which 
permits me to love Thee." Ignatius often addressed 
this prayer to God. He did not desire a humility which 
would injure his trust and his love towards God. 



1. Let a rich man endeavour to reach such a point 
as to be the possessor of what he has, without allowing 
himself to be possessed by it. 

2. He who is not called to that sublime and highest 
degree of perfection which consists in possessing nothing 
in this world and in contenting himself with God as his 
only riches, is bound to strive to attain to the second 
degree, which consists in not being the slave of what he 
possesses. If we do not leave our possessions for the 
love of God, we should at least use them for God ; and 
however great they may be, we should esteem them 
less than the one thing which the Gospel declares to be 

3. Lest cupidity should lead us astray, it is desirable, 
when we deliberate about affairs which concern us per 
sonally, to consider them as the affairs of others and 
not as our own, in order that truth may decide and not 

4. To preserve union between hearts, it will help 
much, on both sides, to conceive a thorough contempt 
for the things of time, in which ordinarily self-love 
appears, which is the most formidable enemy of this 
union and of the general good. 

5. We have heard from various quarters, that the 
goodness of God is visiting you by penury in your 



domestic resources, in the midst of the difficult circum 
stances in which you are. You should regard this as 
not the least of His loving benefits that He considers 
you worthy to know from experience and to taste a gift 
which ought to be the object of our constant desires, if 
we wish to have traced upon us the resemblance of our 
Head, Jesus Christ. 

6. Alas ! what a blow he gives, I not only say to his 
liberty, but also to his authority and to his reputation, 
who accepts presents. 

7. When it is a question of temporal interests it is 
not only generous, and worthy of the magnanimity of 
a Christian to refrain from a lawsuit, but this way of 
acting procures besides a double advantage : the one 
spiritual, since an act of charity is worth incomparably 
more than all the gold in the world ; the other material, 
the Divine liberality making up out of its own funds for 
the gain which was despised for its sake. 

8. Those who, favoured by nature, are destined to 
acquire a large fortune in the world, obtain still greater 
successes when they labour generously for God s glory. 

9. We ought to love poverty as the sure rampart of 
religion, and preserve it in all its purity, as much as 
possible, with the help of Divine grace. 

10. " All religious should cherish poverty as their 
mother, and should occasionally experience some of its 
effects according to the measure of a wise discretion." 
Father Bobadilla, one of the first nine companions of 
St. Ignatius, begged him one day to allow him to 
change the small room where he lodged for one which 
was larger and more convenient. Ignatius, who feared 
that if he were to grant his request, it would encourage 
the other Fathers to avoid the discomforts of poverty, 
not only refused, but told Bobadilla to arrange the 


room which he considered too small for him in such 
a manner as to take in two companions whom he 
intended to give him. Bobadilla joyfully submitted. 

1 1 . The fear of poverty is much more to be dreaded 
for a religious than poverty itself. 

12. It is disgraceful for a religious to possess money 
of his own, to wish for it, or to be suspected with good 
reason of doing so. 

13. A friend of St. Ignatius had sent him some 
money, begging him to distribute it to the poor in 
what way he choose, but the Saint, finding difficulties 
in the way of undertaking this distribution, asked his 
friend to excuse him, writing to him to say that he 
was keeping the money for him. The following lines 
are from the Saint s letter : " With the vow of poverty, 
it is unseemly that I should pass with the public as 
having a deposit of money in my hands. I certainly 
should not wish that, at my departure out of this world,, 
there should be found upon me from head to foot a 
single farthing belonging to others or to myself, when I 
leave this body to the earth, or, to speak more correctly,, 
when I quit this earth." 

14. One day when the Servant of God was con 
versing about spiritual things at the house of a friend, 
in the presence of several persons there gathered together, 
a man burst into the apartment breathless with haste, 
and, going straight to Ignatius, whispered some words 
in his ear. The Saint listened to him and dismissed 
him, saying only, " Very well ; " then, without showing 
any emotion, he continued the discourse which he had 
begun, for an hour. When he had concluded, before 
letting him depart, they asked him what the news 
was which he had received and which, judging by the 
scared look of the messenger, must be disagreeable. 


" It is nothing," replied Ignatius, "only the officers of 
justice have made a descent upon our house and have 
seized all our poor furniture, for the recovery of a debt 
of some crowns which we were obliged to borrow. But," 
he added, smiling, " if they take away our beds we can 
quite well sleep on the floor, and that will not be ill- 
suited to poor people such as we are, and such as we 
profess to be. The only favour I shall ask will be that 
they will leave me my manuscripts, and even if they 
make difficulties about this, I shall not insist much 
upon keeping them. Let them carry them off and do 
what they like with them." 

15. A Lay-Brother, who had the care of the room 
of the Servant of God, having secretly taken from 
his table some rosary beads which pleased him, and 
having substituted for them some inferior ones which 
Ignatius had given him, Ignatius threatened to turn 
him out of the Society, and the threat would have been 
executed, if the sincere confession and bitter repentance 
of the Brother had not pleaded his cause. 

1 6. The celebrated Lessius having applied to Father 
Oliver Manare in order to obtain exact information 
as to the manner in which Ignatius understood the 
practice of poverty, and having for this purpose 
addressed to him a series of particular questions which 
he requested him to answer, received from him a letter 
full of the most interesting details. The following are 
some of them. Ignatius wished his children to refrain 
from anything which was in any way, or which seemed 
to be, an act of ownership. None of them was allowed 
to appropriate anything without having previously 
received authority to do so, either general or parti 
cular, and if, in case of necessity, he had thought it 
right to presume this, he was bound to have it promptly 
ratified. It was alike forbidden to all to receive,, to 


borrow, to give, to exchange, or to lend anything. It 
was forbidden to replace a worn-out or spoilt article, 
such as a broken jug, &c., by an equivalent, taken from 
another room, without the knowledge of the Superior. 
It was not permitted, under the same conditions, to 
take a volume from the common library, or for any one 
to place in his breviary a picture which he had found 
by chance, to provide himself with paper, pens, &c., or 
to appropriate to his own use a knife, a candlestick, a 
lamp, or any such things. No one was to write in, or 
make any mark in, the books which he was authorized 
to use. Permission was alike necessary in order to 
place in, or remove from its place, a picture in a cell, 
or to drive a nail into the wall, &c. The Saint could 
not endure any one cutting a flower while walking in 
the garden ; as to gathering, or even picking up fruit 
fallen from a tree, it seemed to him so hateful that for 
some time he made it a reserved case, and he who had 
yielded to this weakness, was obliged by the Rule, to 
begin his sacramental accusation by the confession of 
his fault, without prejudice to the discipline which he 
was to undergo in public. 



1. Let the most noble virtue of chastity be so 
carefully observed by us that, neither in our actions, 
nor in our words, anything may be remarked which is 
too free or wanting in sedateness. Let us lead, as far 
as it is possible to do so upon earth, a heavenly life 
and one which is freed from the evil influence of the 

2. What concerns th<e vow of chastity needs no 
explanation, since it is perfectly well known how 
carefully it should be guarded, that is to say, by 
employing all our efforts in order to imitate the purity 
of the angels by the purity of our body and of our 

3. We ought carefully to guard the doors of our 
senses, chiefly our eyes, our ears, and our tongue, and 
not allow them any ill-regulated liberty. 

4. Father Oliver Manare, a religious of consum 
mate virtue, loved Ignatius dearly, and revered him as 
a saint ; Ignatius, on his side, had the greatest con 
fidence in him and had just appointed him Rector of 
the College of Loreto, which he was sending him to 
found. Before setting out, Manare, accompanied by 
the Fathers whom he was to take with him, went to 
take leave of the Servant of God and to ask his blessing. 
As he feared, and not without reason, that he might 
never again have the consolation of seeing Ignatius in 


this world, he wished at least to carry away with him 
his image, by engraving it indelibly in the depths of his 
heart. For this purpose he looked at him steadily, 
keeping his eyes fixed upon him during the whole 
interview. This did not escape Ignatius, who, however,, 
seemed not to have perceived anything, that he might 
not sadden the Father; but, after having said good-bye, 
he kept his secretary Polanco a moment, who had 
been present at the interview. Manare went away, 
and had already reached the threshold of the house to 
set off, when Polanco overtook him, and stopped him, 
saying: " Our Father observed just now that you never 
ceased gazing at him a moment while you were together, 
and he considers that by so doing you were wanting in 
the modesty which he has so often and so strongly 
recommended to you. In order to help you to correct 
your imperfection, he desires you every day, at one of 
your examens at least, to ask yourself whether you 
have not so far forgotten yourself as to fix your eyes 
for too long a time upon your interlocutors ; you will 
then recite the Pater noster and the Ave Maria. He 
desires also, that in the letters which you write to him 
every week, you will tell him if you have been faithful 
in the performance of this penance." Manare obeyed, 
until at last, but not until fifteen months after, Ignatius 
informed him that he need no longer send him any 
account of it. 

5. Familiarity should be avoided with persons of 
another sex, even with those who are pious or who 
wish to pass for such, and all the more when their 
age, position, or personal character renders them more 
dangerous. The most innocent intercourse with them 
is dangerous : it always injures the reputation even 
when it does not wound the conscience ; and, if one is 
not burnt by the fire, one is blackened by the smoke. 



6. One of the Fathers, venerable on account of his 
virtue and his advanced age, having thought himself 
dispensed from observing one of the rules established 
by Ignatius for visiting the sick, in a special case, and 
by reason of the exceptional circumstances in which he 
was placed, the Saint imposed upon him a severe 
penance, not meaning to punish a fault which the 
Father had not committed, since he had acted in 
perfect good faith, but in order to prevent others from 
taking upon themselves to do the same on similar 
occasions. He ordered him to take the discipline 
during the time required for the recitation of the Seven 
Penitential Psalms. 

7. For the sake of the perfect edification of others, 
and to protect more efficaciously if possible, by a 
further increase of precaution, the chastity of his 
children, Ignatius had, under the name of Rules of 
Modesty, drawn up some practical points relating to 
the exterior, and to the manners suited to a religious 
in his intercourse with the world. The Minister of the 
house had been charged by him to promulgate these 
points, but he, not considering them of the same 
importance as Ignatius did, was afraid of seeming too 
severe by insisting on their observance, and did not 
hurry himself about doing what he had been desired 
respecting them. Ignatius was grieved at this negli 
gence. He spoke of it to Father Ribadeneira and said 
to him : "I give myself much trouble, I spend a great 
deal of time in drawing up rules, and our Ministers will 
not see that they are carried out, as if it all cost me 
nothing. Yet, before prescribing these last rules I shed 
many tears and I prayed for seven days and even 
more." At that time it seemed that God chose to 
encourage His servant and to show clearly the value 
which He attached to the measure which he had decided 


on, by an unusual event. Shortly after, Ignatius ordered 
Father Lainez to make an exhortation to the com 
munity, and to dwell upon the importance of the newly 
made rules ; he also desired that all the Fathers and 
Brothers, without exception, should be present at the 
instruction, not even exempting on this occasion, as it 
was his custom to do, those of his first nine companions 
who were then in Rome. The meeting was held imme 
diately after dinner. Lainez took for his text a passage 
from St. James, and drew from it this conclusion : " We 
should beware of despising the smallest things, for, 
small as they are, they are our guarantee for the 
preservation of the most precious treasures." While 
they were listening to him attentively, a dreadful crash 
was heard, and the whole house was shaken. When 
Lainez had ended his discourse every one was anxious 
to know what had happened. On leaving the place of 
assembly they at once perceived the cause of the noise. 
A gallery which overlooked the garden, and in which 
the older Fathers used to converse every day after their 
repast, had suddenly fallen, so that, if the General had 
not obliged all the Fathers to be present at the con 
ference, some of them would have been buried under 
the ruins of the gallery. Ignatius adored the Divine 
Providence over his children, and, profiting by such a 
strange accident, he said: "It does indeed appear, 
Fathers, that the rules which have just been explained 
to you, are not displeasing to God." 

8. Ignatius expressly forbade the explanation of 
Terence in the classes, until it had been expurgated, 
although that poet presents an excellent model of 
Latinity, and is considered the prince of comedy 
among the Romans. Judging him to be a licentious 
poet, he would not place him in that state in the 
hands of children, lest there should be greater harm 


done to their manners than profit to their mind. In 
consequence of this, Father des Freux undertook to 
correct that author, cutting out what was calculated 
to scandalize, and transforming into virtuous affection 
what was there said of criminal love, in order that for 
the future it might be read without danger in our 
schools. Nevertheless, Ignatius considered that no 
advantage would result from this labour, the matter 
being such that, in whatever way it was treated, it 
would be a fatal injury to youth. 


1. Obedience is the noblest and most beautiful of 
virtues, it is more excellent than all victims and 
sacrifices, it is the daughter of humility, the nurse of 
charity, the companion of justice, the guide and 
mistress of all the religious virtues, the mother of 
concord and of brotherly kindness, a safe and calm 
harbour, a perpetual and delicious banquet for the soul. 

2. If, of all kinds of life, the noblest in our eyes 
should be that in which one renders most glory to 
God, and in which one serves Him most perfectly, it 
necessarily follows that that manner of life excels all 
others, in which one gives to God the offering of public 
obedience : because, there is no sacrifice sweeter nor 
more pleasing to the Supreme Majesty than obedience, 
as Holy Scripture affirms. 

3. He who, together with the worship of the will, 
submits to God the will itself and the understanding, 
which are what is greatest in man, undoubtedly makes 


an offering to God more precious than he who, what 
ever else he may offer, does not give these two faculties. 

4. St. Gregory asserts that obedience merits to us 
the other virtues, when he says: " Obedience is not so 
much a virtue, as the mother of virtues." There is 
nothing surprising in this, because through it we 
obtain from God all that we ask : for, as the same 
St. Gregory says : " If we obey our Superiors, God will 
obey our prayers." Long before St. Gregory, the 
Scriptures had told us the same. Speaking of Josue, 
who was so remarkably obedient to his leader Moses, 
they tell us that by a word he caused the sun to stand 
still, that God was obedient to the voice of a man, 
and the Creator of the sun and of the universe did not 
disdain to yield to such a command. 

5. Those who live under obedience have necessarily 
much greater aids to advance in virtue : because God, 
Who is the Author of virtue, grants their prayers, or 
because, as a sage has said, " Whatever man denies to 
his own will, he adds to virtue." 

6. It is well known that he is delivered from many 
errors, and avoids many sins of the will, who prefers 
to rest upon the authority of a Superior rather than 
to follow his own judgment. We should mark well 
that this is not only an advantage in some particular 
cases, but affects the whole life. To express this 
according to our human language, he binds Divine 
Providence most strongly to direct and govern him 
diligently, who abandons himself most completely to 
Him, by the obedience which he renders to his 
Superior, who represents to him the Person of our 
Lord, and in whom, whatever else he may be, he 
honours and reverences the Person of the Divine 


7. One of the precious advantages for him who lives 
under obedience, is the facility for driving away and 
conquering all his temptations and all his weaknesses. 
Living near a spiritual guide, he can easily receive from 
him the warnings and counsels by which he should be 
led : for it is written that the obedient man will gain 
victory after victory. In this way he will have strength 
to conquer himself, which is the grandest triumph that 
a man can obtain. 

8. It may justly be said that the safest line of 
conduct, provided it never swerves from the right path, 
is the exercise in which one s judgment and one s will 
are courageously overcome and restrained by obedience. 

9. Those who by a generous effort resolve to obey, 
attain to a high degree of merit, and we shall be 
convinced of this if we reflect that obedience resembles 
martyrdom ; that by it the will and the judgment are 
at all times immolated and laid as victims upon the 
altar, so that in man, in the place of free-will, there is 
only the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is made 
known to us by him who commands us ; besides, it is 
not only the desire for life which is offered up in 
obedience, as is the case in martyrdom, but all desires 

10. It does indeed add not a little to the value of 
works of piety, when, being already meritorious in 
themselves, they receive the consecration of obedience. 

11. You should consider that obedience will enable 
you to walk without fatigue, and to travel more rapidly 
over the road to Heaven, because you will be as it were 
carried by another, and not by your own will and 
judgment. In all things, even when you take your 
repast or when you lie down to rest, obedience will 
cause you to be constantly accompanied by merits, just 


as those who are on board ship, cease not to advance 
even whilst they sleep. 

12. When you arrive happily at the close of life,, 
obedience will open to you a sure entrance into Heaven 
which was of old closed to us through contempt for the 
Divine commandment, and which is still closed to those 
who* are guilty of the same sin. 

13. Even amidst the present calamities of exile, 
and the weariness of the pilgrimage, obedience gives to 
the mind a celestial foretaste of the happiness of our 
heavenly country. In truth, by removing from a religious 
a mixed multitude of thoughts, obedience not only 
prevents him from being wavering and undecided, but 
by delivering him from the heavy burden of his own 
will, it orders him to give up all care of himself and to 
abandon himself entirely to the watchfulness of the 
Superior : from this he derives constant peace and 
tranquillity, provided he estimates at its true value the 
precious treasure which Divine Goodness has concealed 
under obedience. 

If a religious who has a Superior near him to rule 
him, does not enjoy this peace and tranquillity, let him 
look whether it is not his fault, because he has resumed 
the care of himself which he had before abandoned to 
the Superior. 

14. Obedience not only causes us to enjoy repose, 
but it ennobles and elevates man greatly above his 
condition, causing him to put off self and to put on God, 
the Sovereign Good, Who is accustomed to fill the soul 
so much the more as He finds it less occupied with 
self-will : so that those who have reached this state 
may truly, provided they practise obedience from the 
bottom of their heart, say with the Apostle: "I live, 
now not I ; but Christ liveth in me." 


15. Although I desire to see you adorned with 
all God s gifts, and perfect in every virtue, what I 
wish above all is that you should excel in obedience, 
not only on account of the great good and special 
advantages attached to this virtue, as is evident from 
a number of passages and illustrious examples drawn 
from the Old and New Testaments, but also because, 
as St. Gregory says, " Obedience of itself produces and 
maintains the other virtues in our hearts." 

16. If obedience flourishes in you, the other virtues 
will undoubtedly flourish also, and will produce such 
fruits as I desire for you, and such as He has a right 
to require, Who, through His own obedience, chose to 
redeem the world, which was completely lost through 
contempt of this salutary virtue, having made Himself 
obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. 

17. I am willing that other Religious Orders should 
surpass us in fastings, in vigils and in other bodily 
austerities which each of them practises holily according 
to the spirit of its Rule. But, in what concerns the 
purity and perfection of obedience, the sincere abandon 
ment of our will into the hands of the Superiors, and 
the renunciation of our judgment, I earnestly desire 
that those \vho serve God in this Society should not 
be surpassed by any one, but that they should signalize 
themselves by the practice of this virtue, and that this 
may be the distinctive feature by which the true and 
legitimate children of the Society may be distinguished 
from such as are not so. 

1 8. You should never consider the person whom 
you obey, but you should see in him our Lord Jesus 
Christ, for Whose sake you obey. If we ought to 
obey a Superior, it is not by reason of his prudence, 
his goodness, or the other good qualities which God 
may have given him, but solely because he is God s 


lieutenant, and acts by the authority of Him Who 
has said: " He that heareth you, heareth Me: and he 
that despiseth you, despiseth Me." If, on the other 
hand, he should seem to have less prudence and 
wisdom, that is no reason for not obeying him with 
exactness, because in his character of Superior he 
represents the Person of Him Whose wisdom is 
infallible, and Who will Himself supply whatever is 
wanting in His minister, whether of virtue, or of any 
other good qualities. For this reason I wish you to 
dispose yourselves with all possible care and diligence 
to recognize our Lord Jesus Christ, in whatever 
Superior it may be, and to render with deep respect, 
to the Divine Majesty, in his person, the honour which 
you owe to it. 

19. I am anxious that you should thoroughly 
understand, and have it deeply impressed upon your 
mind, that this first kind of obedience, which reaches 
only as far as the performance of the things com 
manded, is an obedience of a very low and very 
defective sort ; that it is not even worthy of the name 
unless it rises to the second degree, which makes our 
will and that of the Superior one, and which produces 
such an agreement between him and us, that in the 
execution it not only appears that we are doing what 
he commands, but also that we have really only the 
same intention which he has, so that both aim at and 
seek after the same things. For this reason we read 
in the Scriptures, "Obedience is better than sacrifices," 
because, as St. Gregory says, "In sacrifices animals are 
offered up, and by obedience we offer up our own will." 
As this is an exceedingly noble and precious faculty, 
the sacrifice which we make of it to our God and 
Creator by obedience is on that account of very great 


20. It is a gross and dangerous error not only to 
imagine that it is allowable to fail in obedience in what 
concerns flesh and blood, but also to persuade oneself 
that one may depart from the will of the Superior as to 
actions which are spiritual and holy in themselves, 
such as fastings, prayers, and similar works of piety. 

21. As far as you can, lay aside your will com 
pletely ; freely abandon and consecrate to your Creator 
by the hands of His ministers the liberty which He has 
given you. Do not think that you gather little fruit 
from your free-will by being able to place it entirely, 

through obedience, in the hands of Him from Whom 
you received it. Far from losing your liberty by this 
deprivation, you render it more excellent and more 
perfect, because by this means you conform your will 
to the sure rule of rectitude, namely the Divine will, of 
which you have a faithful interpreter in him who 
commands you in God s name. 

22. How great is the error of those whom self-loye 
has blinded to such an extent that they imagine them 
selves to be obedient when they have brought the 
Superior, in whatever manner it may be, to will what 
.they will. Beware of ever attempting to bring over 
.the will of the Superior to your own, as you ought to 
regard it as that of God Himself: this would not be 
to conform your will to the Divine will, but rather to 
regulate the Divine will by yours, arid consequently to 
reverse the order arranged by God s wisdom. 

23. He who aims at acquiring the virtue of 
obedience ought to attain to the second degree of that 
virtue, so as not only to carry out the command of the 
Superior, but also to regulate his will by that of the 
Superior, or rather he should lay aside his own will to 
take God s will, which is declared to Him by the 


24. If any one wishes to make a complete sacrifice 
of self, it is necessary that, after having submitted the 
will to God, he should also consecrate to Him the 
understanding, in which consists the third and highest 
degree of obedience ; so that he not only wills what 
the Superior wills, but is also of his opinion, and 
entirely subjects his judgment to the judgment of the 
Superior in so far as an obedient will can subject the 
understanding. Although this faculty of the soul is 
not master of its [operations as the will is of its move 
ments, and is urged by a natural determination towards 
what appears to it to be true, nevertheless in many 
things, where the evidence of known truth does not 
necessarily govern it, it may follow one course or 
another, according to the movement given to it by the 
weight of the will. 

25. In the case of things which are not manifest,, 
every person who makes a profession of obedience 
ought to bend to the judgment of his Superior; for, as 
obedience is a kind of holocaust by which the whole 
man sacrifices himself, without any reserve, in the 
flames of charity, to his Creator and God by the hands 
of His ministers; and as it is also an absolute renuncia 
tion of self, by which the religious voluntarily cedes all 
the rights which he might have over his own particular 
conduct, in order to depend only on Divine Providence 
under the government of his Superior : it must 
necessarily be admitted that obedience includes not 
only the execution of what is commanded, with the 
wish to perform it willingly, but, together with the 
execution and the will, it comprehends also the 
judgment, in order that the inferior may consider good 
and reasonable whatever the Superior shall have 
commanded and thought good, in so far as the will 
has power and control over the understanding to oblige 
it to submit. 


26. Would to God that the obedience of the 
judgment were as perfectly known and as faithfully 
practised by men, as it is pleasing to Him and neces 
sary for all who live in the religious state ! 

27. It is impossible to keep up obedience long, 
unless the will and the judgment of the inferior are in 
perfect agreement with the will and the judgment of 
the Superior. 

28. The judgment may err as well as the will, in 
what concerns ourselves, and as we unite our will to 
that of the Superior in order to prevent it from going 
astray, so, in the same way, lest the judgment should 
be deceived, we ought to make it conform to the 
judgment of the Superior. 

29. It is a common opinion amongst the wise, that 
ven in worldly matters it is prudent not to trust to 
our own prudence, above all in our own affairs, as to 
which we are not generally fair judges on account of 
the passion which disturbs us. Now, if it is the case 
that, in our worldly affairs, we should submit our judg 
ment to the judgment and opinion of another person, 
although he be not our Superior, how much more ought 
we to do so to him who is actually our Superior, to 
whose guidance we have committed ourselves, regard 
ing him as God s lieutenant and the interpreter of His 
sovereign will ! This precaution is all the more neces 
sary for pious persons and in spiritual things, because 
the danger is greater when a person runs hastily along 
the path of virtue unrestrained by prudence and dis 

30. If the obedience of the judgment is wanting, 
the submission of our will, or the performance of the 
things prescribed will necessarily be defective ; for it 
is in our nature that the affective powers of our soul 


should instinctively follow those which are called , 
apprehensive: hence it follows that, without great 
violence, it is not possible for the will to submit 
continually in things which the judgment disapproves.. 

31. Even if a person could be found whose will 
submitted for some length of time, by reason of this 
general maxim, that we ought to obey, even in things 
which may not be very prudently commanded, such 
a submission would nevertheless be neither constant 
nor certain ; perseverance would thus be wanting, or 
at least, that perfection of obedience which consists 
in submitting promptly and with pleasure : for there 
can be neither eagerness nor pleasure, where minds are 
so divided in their judgment. 

32. Zeal and promptitude of execution are lost,, 
when we begin to question whether it is advisable to 
do or not to do what is commanded us. 

33. The famous simplicity of blind obedience no 
longer exists when we begin inwardly to question 
whether it is rightly or wrongly that we are given 
a command: and perhaps it happens that we condemn, 
the Superior, because he commands something which is 
not agreeable to us. Humility vanishes, when, on the 
one hand we submit, while on the other w 7 e prefer our 
own way to that of the Superior, and strength is 
wanting to us for undertaking difficult things ; finally, 
to sum up all, the vigour and dignity of obedience 
entirely disappear ; and to all its advantages succeed 
sadness, heaviness, murmurings, excuses, and other 
serious imperfections which rob obedience of all its 
value and merit. 

34. If we seek for peace of heart and tranquillity of 
mind, it is beyond doubt that he w r ill never enjoy them 
who cherishes within him a root of troubles and. 


anxieties, that is, opposition between his own judgment 
and the orders of obedience. 

35. If it is expedient for the well-being of the whole 
body that there should be perfect concord between the 
head and the members, it is not difficult to decide 
whether it is more reasonable that the head should 
obey the direction of the members, or the members 
should submit to the guidance of the head. 

36. If you desire to know how perfect the obedience 
of the judgment is, and how pleasing to God, you need 
only consider first, that by it we dedicate to God the 
noblest and most precious part of man ; that by it he 
who obeys becomes a living holocaust agreeable to the 
Divine Majesty, since he reserves absolutely nothing of 
himself; and, lastly, that it causes him to undertake 
a very difficult warfare, in which he generously over 
comes himself for the love of God, resisting the incli 
nation which is so natural to all men to cling to their 
own understanding. 

37. Do not consider in the person of the Superior, 
a man subject to the errors and infirmities of humanity, 
but regard in him Jesus Christ Himself, Who is supreme 
wisdom, incomprehensible goodness, and infinite charity, 
Who cannot be deceived, and Who cannot deceive 

38. Since you have the testimony of your conscience 
that you have submitted to the yoke of obedience 
through love to God, in order to be more certain of 
doing the Divine will by doing that of the Superior, 
hold it also for certain that the charity of Jesus Christ, 
Who is very faithful to His promises, will always watch 
over the ministry of those whom He has made your 
Superiors, to lead you to your goal by safe paths. 


Listen therefore to the voice and to the orders of the 
Superior, as you would listen to the voice of Jesus 

39. Provided you do not stop at the exterior of the 
man, but carry your thoughts beyond, considering God 
in the person of your Superior, you will have no 
difficulty in conforming your will and your judgment 
to the rule which you have yourself chosen for your 

40. Always do what you can to justify in your mind 
the command and the opinion of the Superior, and 
never allow yourself to disapprove of what he does. 
For this end it will serve you much to hold yourself 
ready and inclined for what he ordains, whence it will 
result that you will obey not only without trouble, but 
with joy and satisfaction. 

41. Bear well in mind that all which the Superior 
commands is the command and the will of God 
Himself, so that, as you determine without hesitation 
and with full submission, to embrace the truths which 
the Catholic faith sets before you, you may be borne on 
by the impetus of a will inclined only to obey, without 
examining anything, without seeing anything, to perform 
all that the Superior has told you to do. 

42. This does not mean, however, that if an opinion 
different from that of the Superior should present itself 
to your mind, and, after having consulted our Lord in 
prayer it seems to you right to make it known, that you 
may not do so. But, lest self-love and your private 
judgment should deceive you in this, it is advisable 
to use this precaution, that before giving your opinion, 
and after having done so, you should maintain perfect 
equanimity, being not only equally disposed to undertake 


or to let alone what is in question, but also to approve 
of, and consider as best, all that the Superior shall 
have decided. 

43. I ought, from my entrance into religion, to 
commit myself entirely to God and to him who rules 
me in His place. 

44. I ought to wish to have as my Superior and 
my guide, one who takes care to make me give up my 
judgment and my own opinion. 

45. In things where there is no sin, I ought 
always to obey the will of the Superior and not my own. 

46. Obedience has three degrees : the first con 
sists in obeying when I am commanded in the name 
of holy obedience, and this degree is good ; the second 
consists in obeying a simple order, and this degree 
is better; the third consists in forestalling the command 
and in performing that towards which the Superior 
inclines, though he does not give me any order, and 
this third degree is much more perfect than the two 

47. I ought not to stop to consider if he who 
gives me an order is the first Superior, or the second, 
or the last, but set to work to obey with all my might, 
animating myself by the decisive consideration that, 
in any Superior, whoever he may be, it is always God 
Who commands ; if, on the other hand, I make a 
distinction between one Superior and another, what 
constitutes obedience disappears. 

48. If my Superior should occasionally order 
something which seems to me to be against my 
conscience, whilst he thinks otherwise, I ought to trust 
him rather than myself, unless I am obviously in the 
right. If, notwithstanding, I do not succeed in con 
vincing myself that he is in the right, I should at 


least, setting aside my own judgment and private 
opinion, propose the case to one, two, or three persons 
and trust entirely to their decision that I may conform 
to it. If after all this I do not yet yield, I am very far 
from that degree of virtue and perfection which is 
proper for a true religious. 

49. In short, I ought to belong no longer to myself,, 
but to my Creator and to him who stands in His 
place to guide me and to govern me, and in whose 
hands I must become like soft wax under the fingers 
of the artist, whether the matter in question be to write 
or not to write letters, to receive or not to receive them, 
to speak to my brethren or to keep silence, being 
persuaded that all which is ordered is ordered for my 
good, and taking every care in performing what is 

50. I ought to consider myself like a dead body 
which has no longer either will or opinion, like a statue 
which is turned any way at will and does not offer any 
resistance, like a stick in the hand of an old man who 
uses it at pleasure and lays it down anywhere as is 
convenient to him. I must thus be ready to undertake 
everything to which religion would have me apply 
myself, not refusing anything which it shall command 
me to do. 

51. I ought not to ask my Superior nor to beg 
him, much less to importune him with my entreaties,, 
with the object of being sent to one place rather than 
to another, of being employed in one office rather than. 
in another, but merely lay before him with simplicity 
my thoughts and my desires, throwing myself at his- 
feet, that he may decide and command, and I should 
afterwards consider as best what he has settled and 



52. I may, however, ask certain things of less 
importance and which are good in themselves, such as 
to visit the Stations in the churches, to practise such 
or such a devotion with the view to obtain a particular 
grace, and other similar permissions, but I ought then 
to place myself in the disposition to think that what 
the Superior does is best, whether he grants or refuses 
my request. 

53. Further, in all which concerns poverty, I 
ought to consider nothing as my private property, 
but be, with regard to all the things which I use, like 
a statue which offers no resistance, and which feels no 
reluctance when stripped of the ornaments with which 
it was adorned. 

54. In order for a person to be fit to be set over 
others and to govern them well, he must previously 
have taken all care to obey, and have learnt to excel 
in this virtue. 

55. If it appears to you that the exact point, the 
real middle course of discretion, is difficult to grasp, I 
will tell you that you have a master to teach it to you : 
this master is obedience, whose counsels will guide you 
in a safe manner. If any one should be met with 
amongst you who desires obstinately to guide himself, 
let him hear what St. Bernard says to him : " All that 
is done without the consent and the will of the spiritual 
father, is but vainglory and will remain unrewarded." 
Let him also remember this passage of Scripture: " It 
is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel : and like the crime 
of idolatry to refuse to obey." Let obedience, then, 
be your master to direct you, and your guide to lead 
you in the right road between lukewarmness and 
immoderate fervour. 

56. This is what I command you in virtue of holy 
obedience, and take care, if you please, that this point 


is faithfully observed : if there should be in your houses 
any persons who refuse to obey not only you, but also 
any other Superiors or local Rectors, you will do one 
of two things : you will either turn them out of the 
Society, or send them here, to Rome, if you judge that 
with the help of such a change they may become true 
servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

To retain amongst you men who are not true 
children of obedience, is not in any way suitable ; and 
it cannot be thought that such religious will help souls 
to be saved, when there is so little piety in their own, 
nor that God will accept them as instruments for His 
service and glory. 

We see by experience that not only men of ordinary 
talent, but even those of less, whatever may be their 
degree of inferiority, even to the lowest, are very often 
the instruments by which remarkable fruit is produced, 
fruit which is very supernatural, because they are 
thoroughly obedient, and by means of obedience they 
allow themselves to be moved and directed by the 
powerful hand of the Author of all good. We see, on 
the other hand, men of more than ordinary talent, 
labour without producing ordinary fruit, because they 
guide themselves by themselves, or by their self-love, 
or at least they will not allow themselves to be guided 
by God, our Master, through the means of obedience to 
their Superiors. This is the reason why the results 
produced are not in proportion with the all-powerful 
hand of God, our Master, Who does not accept these 
men as instruments, but in proportion with their own 
hand, which is but weakness. 

57. If there be now in your body, or if there should 
be amongst those who will replace you in the College 
at Gandia, any person who has not the inward dis 
position and the firm will to remain under this law of 


obedience, and to conform his behaviour to it, under 
whatever Rector it may be, let such a one embrace as 
soon as possible another kind of life, and abandon the 
Society, in which he must not be received who will 
not, or who cannot, embrace the rule of obedience 
which we have just inculcated. 

58. Ignatius had not to deplore the defection of any 
of his first nine companions : all of them remained 
faithful to him to the end. At the moment of render 
ing up his great soul to his Creator, he had the consola 
tion of being able to appropriate the words of his 
Master, Who a few hours before His death, said to 
God : " Those whom Thou gavest Me have I kept : " 
happier even in this than the Saviour, he had not the 
sorrow of being obliged to add: "And none of them 
is lost but the son of perdition." Yet it was not by 
making a compact with the spirit of independence, 
which might revive in them, that he retained them 
near him ; from each of these men, whose merit he 
knew so well, and whom he loved so tenderly, he 
required the strictest subordination, and he never with 
them, any more than with the others, compounded in 
the matter of obedience. Thus, having received certain 
information that the excessive gentleness of P ather 
Simon Rodriguez was endangering religious discipline 
in Portugal, he removed him from the office of Pro 
vincial. Further, notwithstanding the opposition of 
the King and of the Court which wished to keep him, 
notwithstanding the wishes openly expressed by a 
considerable number of the Fathers of the Province, 
notwithstanding the secret inclination of Rodriguez 
himself, who thought that the Servant of God was 
incorrectly informed, and that, if further enlightened, 
he would not give him such an order, he recalled him 
at once to Rome. Even foreseeing the extreme case 


that Rodriguez might be deluded enough to hesitate to 
obey, he enjoined the Provincial if such were to happen, 
to turn him out of the Society, and for this purpose he 
sent, ready drawn up, a patent of dismissal, which is 
still preserved. Things did not go so far as this, and 
Rodriguez, a worthy son of a father who had strongly 
inculcated the love of obedience, hastened to submit, 
and set his brethren an admirable example of docility 
to the order of his Superior. 

59. "I will and / wont don t live here." This is 
the origin of this proverb in the Society. A woman 
of bad reputation who lived near, was in the habit of 
putting every day all the filth and sweepings from her 
house before the door of our church. Ignatius being 
informed of it, ordered the sacristan, a young Brother 
recently admitted to the Novitiate, to go to this woman 
and to ask her to carry all this rubbish elsewhere. 
The Brother, however, who was of angelic modesty, 
felt great repugnance to execute the commission 
personally ; he therefore considered that he obeyed 
sufficiently by asking another person to do what had 
been commanded. Ignatius did not think so, and 
whilst approving of the motive of this repugnance, he 
severely punished the Brother for not having obeyed 
the letter. He told him to appear in the refectory 
for six months with a bell hung from his neck, repeating 
each day in a loud voice : " / will and / won t don t live 

60. Although we are accustomed to experience great 
consolation in accomplishing what we know concerns 
God s glory, it is nevertheless very desirable that we 
should experience still greater joy when the thing is 
imposed by obedience, because we are then certain 
that it tends directly to the honour and service of 



61. Father Lainez said one day in the presence of 
Ignatius, that, since Palestine, where they formerly 
hoped to labour together for the salvation of souls, 
was closed to their zeal, he earnestly wished that it 
might fall to his lot to set out for the Indies, in order 
to employ himself there in the conversion of the heathen. 
Ignatius replied immediately: "As for me, I have 
neither that nor a*ny other wish on the subject, and if 
I were to see that I had, I should get rid of it." Lainez 
seeming surprised at this answer, the Saint added : 
" What ! Are we not now bound by the vow which 
we have made to the Sovereign Pontiff to go wherever 
he shall be pleased to require our ministry ? We ought, 
therefore, to keep ourselves ever prepared to proceed 
indifferently to any place whatever which the Vicar of 
Jesus Christ shall designate. In what concerns myself, 
and as far as it depends on me, I desire the East no 
more than the West, and if, like you, I were to feel an 
inclination for a certain country, I would strive to 
change such an inclination for a contrary one, until I 
had regained perfect equilibrium, so as not to lean 
either to the right or to the left." 

62. Obedience to the Superior whom God gives 
us, be he what he may, is the sure and only means 
of regaining peace of soul. Ignatius understood this 
by instinct from the early days of his conversion, when 
the streams of ineffable delights which Heaven had at 
first poured upon him were succeeded by the dreadful 
tempest of scruples which \vas let loose in the depths 
of his heart. In his greatest sufferings he called most 
earnestly for the blessing of a direction which he might 
obey ; he was heard to cry out loudly : " Unhappy man 
that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ? Lord, I suffer violence, answer for me ! Help 
me, Lord ! Come to my aid, Lord ! Hold out Thy 


hand to me from Heaven, O my God, my mercy, my 
refuge, my deliverer, my protector. Thou alone art 
my hope, for in vain do I seek for rest and peace in 
men or in any other creatures. Look upon me and act 
upon me, illumine Thy servant with the rays of Thy 
face ; show me the way in which I ought to walk r 
since Thou art my God ! Yes, if Thou givest me even 
a little dog to guide me, and to appease the trouble of 
my soul, I will not refuse to submit to it, and with Thy 
warrant I will accept it with all my heart as guide and 

63. Obedience is, in the opinion of Ignatius, the 
surest touchstone for discerning the action of God in 
souls from that of nature or of the devil. A Father of 
the Order of St. Dominic, a grave person, and a great 
friend of the Saint, came one day to see him, and told 
him in the course of conversation, that in a monastery 
of which he had the direction, there was a nun much 
given to prayer, and favoured, it was commonly thought, 
with extraordinary graces. The marks of the stigmata 
were often seen in her hands and feet, her side opened,, 
and blood flowed from her head as if she were crowned 
with thorns. She often fell into ecstasy and lost all 
feeling. In vain did they burn her, or prick her with 
pointed iron ; they did not succeed in bringing her to- 
herself ; obedience alone possessed the power to with 
draw her from her raptures, and at the first word from 
her Superior, she recovered her senses. The Father 
owned to Ignatius that he dare not decide as to the 
cause, whether diabolical or Divine, of so strange a 
condition, and begged him to tell him what he thought 
about it. The Saint answered him : " Father, of all 
that you have just told me, what appears to me the 
least suspicious is the promptitude with which this nun 


64. Those who in executing the orders of their 
Superiors obey, against their inclination and with 
secret repugnance, should be ranked amongst the 
basest slaves, or rather, amongst the animals. 

65. Those whose will only submits, but whose 
judgment disapproves of the order which they carry 
out, have as yet only one foot in religion ; they generally 
fall into great perplexities, their troubled conscience is 
uneasy, and reproaches them severely; the spirit of 
their vocation becomes greatly weakened, and, if they 
do not take care, they lose it completely. 

66. Pope Marcellus II., one of the most open pro 
tectors which Ignatius and the rising Society had met 
with, was no sooner installed in the chair of St. Peter 
than he fell ill. Father James de Guzman came at 
once to the holy Founder, and entreated him, with great 
emotion, to authorize him to go round the Stations in 
Rome to solicit Heaven for the cure of the Sovereign 
Pontiff. Ignatius certainly shared the feeling which 
urged the Father to take this step, nevertheless he did 
not see fit to grant him what he desired. Instead of 
retiring, the Father persisted, in order to induce the 
Servant of God to reconsider his refusal, upon which 
the latter sent him away, imposing on him a severe 
penance, to teach him that though praiseworthy in its 
cause, his zeal was no longer such on account of the 
obstinate determination which he displayed to satisfy it. 

67. Before allowing refugees from the world who- 
asked to be admitted amongst his children to enter 
the house, Ignatius said to them: "Religion will not 
be to you a place of peaceful repose if you do not cross 
the threshold with both feet at once, that is, with the 
will and the judgment ready to obey the slightest sign 
from any Superior which it shall please God to set over 



68. Ignatius had appointed James Lainez Provincial 
in Italy. This Father was particularly dear to him, 
and he did not hesitate to say of him: "There is no 
one in the world who has so much right to the gratitude 
of all the members of the Society as Lainez." Just at 
that time the holy Founder summoned the choicest of 
his subjects from all sides to Rome, and the new Pro 
vincial, considering that there were serious incon 
veniences in depriving so many Colleges of them in 
order to enrich one Professed House, made known to 
Ignatius his respectful complaints with regard to it. 
The Servant of God answered him : " That he was 
sorry to see him differ from him, but that the general 
good aimed at by the measure of which he complained 
should be preferred to any particular good." 

Lainez, not having obtained the result which he 
expected from his letter, wrote a second, to the same 
purpose. This time Ignatius did not reply himself, but 
made F. Polanco send him the following lines, which are 
a masterpiece of power and gentleness : " Father, it 
is not Polanco, the humble son of your reverence, full 
of respect and affection for you who writes, but the 
organ and the pen of our Father himself, who has 
commanded me to say to you what is contained in this 
letter. He wished me to write to you several days ago, 
but knowing that your fever had returned, he told me 
to wait until you had recovered. 

" Our Father has been much saddened by you, and 
he is the more so because the failings which grieve him 
proceed from persons who are peculiarly dear to him, 
and the sorrow which he experiences is caused by those 
from whom he least expected it. For this reason he 
has ordered me to direct your intention to certain 
matters about which he requires you to enter into 
yourself that you may learn to forbear and to correct 
yourself concerning them, which will be easily done, 


considering the excellent will which God has given 

Polanco mentions the first grievance and adds : 
4t This is not a slight fault, though there is no reason 
to doubt the uprightness of intention with which you 
acted. I wished to state to you the reasons for what 
I bring forward, but our Father does not consider it 
well to lay them before you, because he thinks that 
it ought to suffice for you to know the obligation which 
you are under of submitting your judgment to his in 
things which concern his office." 

The secretary touches upon a second article, and 
then follow these weighty words : "Is it right that he 
whom the others ought to take for their pattern, should 
show that he does not approve of what has been 
approved of by his Superior ? Decide it for yourself. 
. . . Even if it may be well under certain circum 
stances, to inform the Superior of what is taking place, 
it is never good to place oneself at variance with him." 

Polanco then notices a third subject of complaint, and 
ends thus : " It is not fitting for any one to write to his 
Superior with such a tone of authority. Our Father 
blames you also for that, and he wishes me to admonish 
you to consider the charge which he has entrusted to 
you, and if you acquit .yourself of it properly you have 
already done much. But, do not again think it to be 
your business to send him advice concerning his office. 
He does not wish you to offer it, unless he should first 
ask you to do so, much less now than in the past, for, 
since you have been in office, you have not inspired 
him with a high idea of your capacity as administrator." 

The letter ends thus: "Reflect before God on all 
these points ; for this purpose during three days take 
some time to pray. You will then write to say whether, 
in all this, you are conscious of having committed any 
fault or error ; indicate also the penance which it seems 


to you that you have deserved. Nevertheless, do not 
impose any upon yourself until you have received our 
Father s answer." Lainez profited by this lesson as- 
thoroughly as might be expected from such a man, a 
great saint as well as a genius of the highest order. 

69. After he was raised to the office of General,, 
Ignatius had seldom an opportunity of practising 
obedience, yet whenever such an opportunity occurred, 
he took care not to let it pass without profiting by it. 
When he went into the kitchen to help the cook, he 
obeyed him in what concerned his employment, as the 
most fervent novice might have done. 

During his illnesses he was likewise thoroughly 
submissive to the infirmarians and doctors, abandoning 
himself to them like a child, for the care of his body. 
An inexperienced doctor who had completely mistaken 
the nature of his constitution, was bringing him rapidly 
to the grave by the remedies which he used. The Saint 
was well aware of it, yet he submitted to all that was 
prescribed without making any observation. Fortunately 
the Fathers, alarmed at the progress of the disease, 
called in another doctor, who, by a treatment diametri 
cally opposed to that hitherto used, restored the Servant 
of God to health in a few days. 

70. On another occasion, Ignatius having followed 
the Lenten fast with more courage than strength, up to 
the Wednesday in Holy W r eek, became so ill that they 
fetched a doctor with all haste to give him the attention 
which his state required. The doctor, perceiving at 
once the cause of the mischief, ordered Ignatius to 
take, that same day, a little chicken, and went away 
fearing that the invalid would not consent to do what 
had been prescribed. He returned the next day and 
asked anxiously if his order had been obeyed. When 


answered in the affirmative, he could not help saying : 
44 1 tell you candidly, I am now visiting many persons 
who, during the whole of this season of penance, have 
not respected the laws of the Church, which has not 
prevented them from falling ill at this time, and I have 
at present, on account of the holy season in which we 
are, all the difficulty in the world in persuading them 
to take flesh-meat, though it is necessary for them. 
You, on the other hand, Father, who have fasted and 
abstained during the whole of Lent, do not make the 
least difficulty about consenting to eat meat, when it 
only wants a few days to the end of this holy season ! 
Indeed, I cannot admire you enough." " What," 
answered Ignatius, quietly, " could I have done other 
wise ? Was I to disobey ? " 

71. " Prudence is the business of him who commands. 
It does not concern him who has only to obey." Towards 
the end of his career, Ignatius, who was then advanced 
in age and weakened by previous illnesses, used to say 
from time to time : " At a sign from the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ, I would set out for Spain, stick in hand, infirm 
as I am, and when I got to Ostia, I would embark in the 
first vessel at hand, even were it disabled, and without 
mast, sails, or rudder. In acting thus, I should not 
only have to do no violence to myself, but I should 
obey tranquilly and joyfully." One of those sages who 
weigh things Divine and human in the same scales, 
hearing him once speak thus, said to him, not without 
a touch of irony : " Oh, Father Ignatius ! Where 
would your prudence be then ? " " Prudence," replied 
the Servant of God, " is necessary for him to whom it 
appertains to command ; he who has to obey has no 
need of it, or, if it is permitted him to be prudent in 
anything, let it be in renouncing a prudence which 
would prevent him from continuing to obey." 


72. The Servant of God was once asked in what 
the dignity and excellence of obedience consist. He 
answered : " As there are two ways which lead men to 
beatitude, the common one which conducts them thither 
through the keeping of the simple precepts, and another 
which is only followed by those who embrace the 
practice of the counsels with their whole heart, which 
is proper to religious; likewise in religion, there are 
two kinds of obedience, one imperfect, and the other 
perfect, and it is in the latter that obedience shines 
with its full brilliancy. Imperfect obedience has eyes, 
but it uses them badly ; perfect obedience, on the 
contrary, is wisely blind ; the former retains its manner 
of seeing with regard to the things which are com 
manded, the latter has no way of seeing of its own ; 
the former inclines always to one side or the other, the 
latter maintains an exact equilibrium ; the former obeys 
the orders received, but does so with repugnance, the 
latter submits the will and the judgment to the will and 
the judgment of its Superiors ; it is the guide and 
mistress of all virtues, the daughter of humility, the 
nurse of charity, and justice is its faithful companion. * 

73. In the execution of the orders which one has 
received, it is not to wander from obedience, but on 
the contrary, to obey more perfectly, when one has 
regard, for one s guidance, to certain circumstances 
which arise unexpectedly, and which would modify 
the command of the Superior if he were present and 
was aware of them. Under such circumstances, which 
rarely occur, one ought to act according to what may 
reasonably be presumed to be the will of the Superior, 
while taking care not to listen to the interested 
suggestions of self-love. This is the teaching which 
our Father gave concerning the following incident : A 
wall was being built to shut in the house on the side 


next to the public way, and, by order of Ignatius, the 
novices were put to this work so as to furnish them 
with a precious opportunity of practising humility. 
Amongst them was a young man who belonged to one 
of the noblest families in Rome. The passers-by having 
distinguished him amongst the others, a considerable 
number of them stopped in front of him and watched 
him with admiration. The young man perceived that 
he in particular was being watched, but, attributing 
the attention of which he was the object to quite a 
different cause, he experienced such confusion that, 
being unable to withdraw altogether, he remained as 
far from the street as possible, with his back turned in 
order to be no longer seen. Ignatius having come, and 
reading in the depths of the young man s heart the 
violent temptation which agitated him, sent for the 
Father who had charge of the works and said to him : 
" Do you not perceive that the young Brother who 
remains aloof is being tempted ? Are you waiting until 
he has yielded ? Are you not afraid of ruining him for 
so slight a cause ? " And as the Father tried to excuse 
himself by pleading the order which he had received, 
" What ! " replied Ignatius, " in giving you this order, 
have I taken from you the spirit of charity and dis 
cretion ? " Then, turning towards the novice, whom 
he seemed not to have before perceived, he said to him 
in a fatherly manner, using the weakness of his body 
to cure that of his mind : " How is this, have you also 
been willing to undergo this fatigue? This is a task 
beyond your strength ; go back into the house." He 
thus restored peace to that soul, which, as the novice 
afterwards admitted, was at that moment forming the 
project of abandoning its vocation. 

74. Ignatius could not bear that, under any pretext, 
obedience should be deferred, and he required humility 


even to give way to obedience. When any one, after 
having committed a fault, came to throw himself at his 
feet to implore his pardon and to receive a penance, if 
the guilty person continued to kneel after he had told 
him to rise, the Saint went away leaving him in that 
posture, in order to give him to understand that 
humility is without merit when it is contrary to obedience i 
One day, having made a sign to a Brother Coadjutor to 
be seated during a visit paid him by a gentleman of 
rank, and the Brother having, out of respect, remained 
standing, Ignatius ordered him to place upon his head 
the stool upon which he would not sit, and to remain 
thus during the whole interview. 

75. Ignatius meant obedience to be joyful, prompt, 
and exact, and he neglected no means of perfecting his 
children in the practice of this virtue. He required 
them to pass without opposition from one employment 
to another, to be always ready to exchange the kitchen 
or the door for a class of grammar or a chair of theology, 
to live always in the same place or to leave their own 
country suddenly to go to distant ones. He could not 
suffer them to defer the execution of what was com 
manded for an instant. He wished that, at the sound 
of the bell, each should stop his work, or leave unfinished 
the letter which he had begun. With the object of 
training his children to obey without delay, he used 
sometimes to give them orders which they did not at 
all expect, and he punished the least backwardness in 
the carrying out of what he had prescribed. He once 
sent purposely for certain Fathers who were engaged 
in hearing confessions. One of them went on doing so, 
sending word that he would come as soon as he had 
finished. The Saint sent for him a second time, and, 
when he appeared, received him with severity, asking 
him, "If this was the way that one ought to obey, and 


if it was necessary to say the same thing to him twice ? " 
On the other hand, a priest was once preparing to leave 
the sacristy for the altar to offer the Holy Sacrifice. 
Ignatius saw him, and sent him a message just at that 
moment to take off his priestly vestments, to take his 
cloak, and to be ready to proceed to the place which 
he should tell him. The Father obeyed without stopping 
to think. He put off his vestments, put on his cloak, 
and came to his Superior. The latter asked him if the 
order which he had received had not vexed him ; the 
former replied that it had not done so. The Saint then 
said to him : " I did not need you. I only wished to 
satisfy myself as to your obedience. Understand well, 
that by thus giving up celebrating the Holy Mysteries, 
as you intended doing, you have merited more than if 
you had actually celebrated them, for notwithstanding 
all that the Mass is in the sight of God, yet Scripture 
tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice." 

76. As we place obedience above all the other 
virtues, nothing deserves to be more severely blamed 
than the behaviour of those who examine the orders 
and intentions of their Superiors before obeying. This 
is not mere backwardness in obedience, but insufferable 

77. A soul which advances rashly, without answer 
ing to the reins of him who guides it, is a great subject 
of joy to the devil ; for it causes him to conceive the 
hope that the fall of such a soul will be the greater and 
more serious, because it has striven to rise so high. 

78. Ignatius took care that the most trifling per 
missions should be asked for humbly and respectfully, 
not as a right and in a free and easy manner. He not 
only required his children to be heartily disposed to 
abide by the decision of the Superior, when they had 
made their request, but he also desired that even in 


their way of asking they should show this disposition 
to submit. He would not allow them to enter upon 
undertakings for which they came to solicit his consent 
before that consent had been given ; and if he observed 
that any one had reckoned beforehand upon an autho 
rization which he had not yet obtained, he sent him 
away, admonishing him to return to make his request 
in a manner which indicated a more thorough depend 
ence. A Father having presented himself before him, 
with his cloak over his shoulders, and his hat under his 
arm, to ask leave to go out to take the air, he desired 
him to return to his room, to put down his cloak and 
hat, and then come back, after which he hastened to 
grant his request. 

79. " May God preserve me from spending a single 
night under the same roof with any one who is 
obstinately disobedient." The following is a practical 
commentary upon this saying which Ignatius often 
repeated. The Servant of God had placed at the head 
of the Professed House as Minister, Father Francis 
Marino, a man of great learning, who had, when in the 
world, managed many important affairs. This Father 
was unfortunately so strongly attached to his own way 
of judging that, when he had once taken an idea into his 
head, all the reasonings and supplications in the world, 
and authority even, could scarcely induce him to give 
it up. Ignatius was of opinion that one who was so 
little able to bend to obedience was not fit to direct 
others. He therefore removed him from his office, and> 
to endeavour to soften his inflexibility, placed him 
again in the crucible of the Spiritual Exercises. 
Marino went through them, and seemed to have 
profited by them, but their real spirit had penetrated 
no deeper into his soul than salutary rain does into the 
marble upon which it falls; the water floods the 


surface, it is true, but the interior does not receive one 
drop, and remains dry. Father Nadal saw this at once r 
and remarked concerning it: "I am very much afraid 
that Marino will injure the reputation of the Exercises," 
meaning that they had not effected, in this case, the 
solid amendment and radical transformation which had 
been hitherto noticed with admiration in all those who 
had followed them. Nevertheless, Marino controlled 
himself at first, and appearing more tractable, Ignatius 
restored him to his office. Alas ! his indomitable 
nature soon regained the ascendant, and new acts of 
obstinacy followed. The Servant of God was informed 
late one evening of a fact of this kind which had 
occurred during the day. Without waiting until the 
morrow, Ignatius ordered that the incorrigible man, 
who was already in bed, should be awaked, and he 
sent him out of the house at once. 

80. A Father having come out of his room and gone 
about the house dressed in a way little suited to his 
priestly character, Ignatius, who had seen him thus 
accoutred, meeting him towards the end of the day, 
addressed an observation to him which he received 
very cavalierly, even going so far as to reply that he 
knew quite as well and better than Father Ignatius did, 
what was suitable and what was not suitable. Although 
it was after dark, the Servant of God insisted upon his 
leaving the house instantly. 

81. The following is another instance of the firmness 
with which Ignatius, who was so inclined to indulgence 
towards those who submitted with good grace, acted in 
the case of obstinate persons. A novice was violently 
tempted against his vocation, and the Saint, in order 
to aid him in overcoming the temptation, had tried 
several times, with much gentleness, to make him listen 
to reason. All his efforts having failed, he charged 


several of the Fathers to go and converse with this 
unhappy man. They returned, and informed Ignatius 
that they had not obtained anything, and that the 
novice had announced to them that he was prepared 
to depart at an early hour two days later. " Certainly 
not," replied Ignatius, he must leave this minute, lie 
shall not remain a night with us." 


1. Innocence of life and holiness have great value by 
themselves and outweigh the rest beyond comparison ; 
yet, if they are not united with prudence and with the 
knowledge how to deal with men, they are incomplete 
and wanting in power, and are not well fitted for the 
government of others. On the other hand, great 
prudence with less holiness often does more than 
superior holiness with a smaller amount of prudence. 
This is, however, said in general, and is what usually 
happens ; for the favours which God grants to his saints 
cannot be subjected to any one uniform rule, and He 
can always bestow upon His friends and His elect 
extraordinary graces which do not fall under the 
common law. 

2. Instances have been known of persons of a high 
degree of holiness, and less prudence, who have been 
more successful in conducting affairs of great import 
ance than others more prudent but with less virtue. 
This was because such men, asking counsel from God 
in their undertakings, and putting all their trust in Him, 
God brought their works to a successful issue and 
blessed their efforts. Nevertheless, to judge by what 


generally happens, it is correct to say that, for the 
guidance of others, holiness alone is incomplete and 
does not suffice ; it should be accompanied by common 
sense and much tact. When he who holds the reins 
has only holiness to help him in governing, authority 
ends by slipping from his hands, and passes little by 
little into those of others who must make up for the 
want of wisdom which holiness cannot supply. 

3. To see beforehand what one ought to do, and 
afterwards to examine what one has done, are two 
sure rules for acting rightly. 

4. In what concerns God s service, those who desire 
to be too prudent rarely perform what is grand and 
heroic. He will never undertake anything remarkable 
who is alarmed at the slightest difficulties and who 
calculates scrupulously w r ith anxious solicitude the 
various chances as to his undertaking. For this reason 
the Wise Man advises us to set limits to our prudence. 
It is not fitting that the virtue which ought to rule and 
moderate the others should be itself wanting in rule 
and moderation. 

5. In order to form a sound judgment as to the 
choice to be made, we must not determine according to 
the glitter which things present at first sight, but ask 
ourselves to what they lead. 

6. Let no one take in hand anything, especially 
things which will have some publicity, and which, for 
that reason, will be viewed and criticized by a large 
number of censors, without having previously secured 
the means of bringing them to a good end. 

7. Let each have first the approbation of his own 
conscience, his actions will then easily attain the appro 
bation of every one. 


8. Before contracting an intimate friendship with 
any person, we ought to have studied him and know 
him thoroughly. 

9. Do not be too communicative with every one, do 
not admit the first comer to your intimacy, but consult 
the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show you to whom He. 
wishes you to give your confidence. 

10. You should make no determination either in a 
transport of fervour, or when under deep depression, 
but wait for the return of calmness, and then act as 
sound reason and not impetuosity suggests. 

11. When on the point of coming to a determi 
nation, it is well to examine whether the affection which 
causes us to lean to one course rather than another is 
really produced by love to God and is inspired by Him. 

12. In order not to deceive ourselves when we have 
to make up our mind about things which concern us, 
let us consider the matter about which we have to 
deliberate not as our own, but as that of another person, 
who consults us with the view of obtaining an opinion 
which is free from personal interest and dictated simply 
by the love of truth and reason. Whatever resolution 
we arrive at, after having exhausted all the resources of 
human prudence, we should not make any positive 
decision until we have again examined the whole 
matter by the light given by God, praying to Him to 
enlighten us. It often happens that our shortsighted 
ness and troubled vision do not perceive things which a 
humble prayer would disclose to us, or which the light 
of the eternal law manifests directly. 

13. As, where we are concerned, it is better to 
obtain a single grain of good with safety than to gain a 
hundred with danger to salvation ; so, when we can 
help our neighbour, ordinary fruit acquired peaceably 


.and with edification is much to be preferred to that 
which is much more considerable but which has been 
gathered at the price of offending another and producing 
trouble and agitation. 

14. There are some men, whose zeal is more fiery 
than enlightened, who, for the sake of a small amount 
of good, cause ten times more harm : they engage in 
contests with ecclesiastical superiors at every turn, 
and spread discord around them, whence results greater 
harm than profit, and more scandal than edification. 
Persons of such a character build with one hand and 
pull down with the other : in order to place one stone in 
position they shake a hundred. 

15. There are two kinds of workmen equally earnest 
in their labour. The first build without destroying. They 
are those who temper their zeal with prudence so as to 
be useful to every one and to injure no one. These 
skilful workers do not consider that whatever is possible 
should be attempted ; on the contrary, they regard as 
possible and allowable what will serve for the profit 
of others. If they perceive the slightest signs of the 
danger of a scandal, or even of the appearance of one, 
which would have the effect of alienating from them 
the hearts of men, especially of those whose influence 
should be considered, they draw back and their humility 
is the gainer, because through the fault of others, the}^ 
cannot realize the good which they hoped to accom 

The workmen of the second class build and destroy 
at the same time. They continually cut the thread 
which they are weaving, they possess zeal, but an 
inconsiderate zeal ; they allow themselves to be much 
more carried away by their impetuosity than guided by 
sound reason ; they have no regard for the grievous 
^consequences which result from the good at which they 


aim. In order to gain one soul they sometimes lose 
ten, and never give it a thought ; if they meet with 
some opposition, they wish that, even if the world 
should be upset, their grievances should be fully re 
dressed, and they thus change into hostility the good 
will which their Order had acquired and which it needs 
in order to promote the glory of God. 

1 6. In order to be of use to our neighbour, we 
should study his disposition, and act like those who try 
to cross a river by a ford. If we find a likely spot, 
that is, if there is hope of producing some fruit, let us 
advance ; but if the ford is disturbed, if we think that 
scandal will be taken at our words or proceedings, we 
should know how to be silent. In such a case we should 
refrain from acting, and wait for a favourable season. 

17. In order to deal profitably with our neighbour 
skill is necessary ; in approaching him we should adapt 
our language and demeanour to his character or to the 
occupations to which he is addicted, and not leave him 
until we have gained our object, namely, to do good to 
his soul, and to guide him into the way of salvation. 

1 8. Act on this principle with those who have as 
yet no taste for any but worldly things ; make no 
difficulty as to letting them have the beginning of the 
conversation, and reserve for yourself the end, so as to 
cover with a layer of gold the metal, whatever it may 
be, which has served for a subject of conversation. 

19. In dealing with men who are completely 
absorbed in worldly cares, do not at once turn the 
conversation to what concerns salvation, as this would 
be to throw them a hook without the bait which would 
entice them to take it. Be better advised, speak to 
them about what is occupying them at the time that 
you address them, with merchants speak of trade, with 


soldiers of war, with those who manage public business 
of public matters ; then, rising naturally from these 
lower interests to nobler subjects, speak to them of 
another kind of merchandize, war, and business, that 
is, of the necessity of gaming a blessed eternity, of 
resisting and conquering their passions, of settling and 
pacifying the interior kingdom of their heart. Enter 
your neighbour s house by his door, but make him go 
out by yours. 

20. When we desire to win souls, we must draw up 
our plan according to the opportunities of place, time, 
and persons. As the architect who builds a house 
ought to inform himself as to the purpose for which it 
is intended, and the particular requirements of each 
of those who are to inhabit it, that he may arrange 
the construction accordingly, in. like manner we must 
accommodate our language and demeanour to the 
position and to the infirmity of those with whom we 
have to deal, in order to succeed in being of use to them 
without obliging them to break with their habits and 
as it were to leave their own abode. 

21. The same disease ought not to be invariably 
treated in the same way ; but, according to the con 
stitution of the invalid, different remedies must be 
employed, and sometimes even opposite ones. 

22. Reason establishes and maintains the barrier 
between us and the animals. It is not enough for it to 
restrain the fury of the passions, and to keep them 
from actions and words unworthy of a man ; it belongs 
to it besides, to regulate the movements of zeal so as to 
preserve the soul from its natural impetuosity and keep 
it mistress to choose freely what is most proper. 
Accordingly, Ignatius was never influenced by the 
pious and holy thoughts which occurred to him unless 
he recognized them as in all things calculated to 



procure God s glory and conformable to the kind of life 
which he had embraced for this end. However good 
the desires might be which he felt, he repressed them 
firmly directly he found that they were more suited to 
his private advantage than to the common good. 

23. When it is impossible to carry on with success, 
many works for the interest of our neighbour simul 
taneously, the preference should be given to those which 
will benefit a greater number rather than to those 
which will only be of use to a few, to those the success 
of which is more certain rather than to those of which 
the issue is doubtful, to those which may be undertaken 
without danger rather than to such as do not offer the 
same security, to those whose fruit will be more durable 
rather than to such as will effect only a passing good. 
We ought to consider less the importance of the result 
than the well-founded hope of obtaining it. 

24. When an opportunity occurred, Ignatius willingly 
assisted in commencing and developing works of piety 
and charity, and until they were firmly established he 
spared no pains in helping them. As soon, however, 
as they were well set up, and were provided with all 
that was required for carrying on their work regularly, 
he gradually retired. Drawing back into the shade, 
with as much humility as prudence, he left to others 
the glory of reaping the harvest which he had sown, 
and by so doing saved precious time which enabled him 
to undertake something else. He used to say that 
under such circumstances it was not suitable for his 
children to do more, and he did not wish them to 
accept the permanent direction of these kind of works, 
in which they incurred the risk of being absorbed 
without sufficient profit, and of satisfying with great 
difficulty the opposite requirements of the numerous 
persons concerned, with whom they would have to deal. 


25. We ought not to give up what we have already 
undertaken and almost accomplished, with the hope of 
performing great things at a later time for God and our 
neighbour. A moderate amount of good, solidly done, 
which has the prospect of durability, far surpasses 
a much more considerable good, which we are not 
certain of attaining, and which may be lost at any time. 
Ignatius, acting upon this principle, firmly refused, in 
early days, notwithstanding the most earnest entreaties, 
the advantageous offers which he received one after 
the other from Spain for the establishment of new 
foundations. Not having yet in hand persons suffi 
ciently trained to supply these new Colleges, without 
impoverishing those already in operation, he had 
reason to fear that the Fathers, if scattered about in 
many different places, and reduced to a small number 
in each house, would not be able to keep their Rule 
exactly. He was well aware that religious discipline 
being thus perforce relaxed among them, not only 
would the towns which had summoned them fail to 
obtain the advantages which they had expected from 
their presence, but also the Society would lose the good 
reputation which caused its members to be sought 

26. One of the most ardent longings of Ignatius was 
assuredly to carry the Gospel to the heathen : hence 
his journey to Jerusalem shortly after his conversion, 
and the vow pronounced at Montmartre by him and 
his first companions. He was long denied any satis 
faction in this respect, but when the Indies were in a 
most unexpected manner opened to his zeal, although 
he eagerly seized the opportunity of satisfying his 
desire, he listened also to the counsels of prudence, and 
took care that this new work, however dear and 
important it might be, should not compromise other 


and still more important works which had been already 
begun. Whatever it must have cost him as a father,, 
he did not hesitate to deprive himself generously, for 
the sake of the East, of the most illustrious of his sons, 
Francis Xavier. At the same time, considering the 
urgent needs of the West, and the scanty means at 
his disposal for satisfying them, he resisted, for the 
time, reiterated requests to do more. Vainly did the 
ambassador of the King of Portugal implore him to 
give him six at least of his children to work in those 
lands, where so much was to be hoped for. Ignatius 
was immoveable, and answered the ambassador : " If,, 
out of the ten which we now are, six were to leave for 
the Indies, how many would be left for the rest of the 
world ? " Four years later, thanks to the labours of 
Xavier, the harvest was so abundant, that being unable 
to gather it, the apostle sent to ask Ignatius for a 
strong reinforcement of auxiliaries which had become 
necessary. His messenger at first received no answer,, 
and Father Ribadeneira learning this, took upon 
himself to go to the Saint, and to beg him to accede to 
the request of Xavier. Ignatius thought for a moment, 
and then said in a tone which betrayed his sorrow at 
only being able to grant part of what was asked : 
" Alas ! Peter, Europe is no less necessitous than Asia ; 
if good and laborious workmen are required there to 
plant the Christian faith, we need them quite as much 
here, in the unhappy times in which we live, to preserve 

27. "You tell me that you experienced great joy 
at my having put an end to the silence which I had 
hitherto maintained towards you. Nevertheless my 
conduct should not surprise you. When a grievous 
wound is to be healed, one remedy is applied at the 
beginning, another in the middle of the cure, and 


a different one towards the end. In like manner, at 
the beginning of my course, a certain remedy was 
necessary for me ; now that I have made some progress 
a different remedy is not injurious ; at least, if I felt it 
to be so, I should not use it a second or third time." 
Ignatius not only treated the same things differently 
according to the diversity of individuals with whom he 
had to deal, but he also varied his proceedings ; he, as 
it were, altered his batteries with regard to the same 
person, according to the different dispositions which 
he perceived in him at the time, under the particular 
circumstances in which he was placed. 

28. To reserve ourselves for great occasions, and 
while waiting for them to refuse to profit by smaller 
ones, under pretext that the good which can be 
accomplished through them is too trifling, is to be 
wanting in wisdom as much as in zeal. Great occasions 
are rare, and may never present themselves, whilst 
opportunities for doing a modest but real good are met 
with at each step ; and, by reason of their multiplicity, 
they soon end by producing important fruit when we 
take the trouble to seize them. Penetrated with this 
truth, Ignatius was on the watch for the smallest 
opportunities of labouring for the glory of God and the 
salvation of souls. When he returned to Spain, he 
announced his intention of teaching Christian doctrine 
to the people. In order to deter him from carrying out 
his resolution, his brother represented to him that his 
trouble would be superfluous, because no one would 
come to his catechisms. Not discouraged by the 
prospect, the Saint at once replied: " If I have only one 
auditor, one poor little child, that is enough for me, 
and I shall not consider my time wasted." 

29. At the Council, you ought to be slow rather than 
prompt in beginning to speak, thoughtful and charitable 


in your opinion about what is done or ought to be done, 
attentive and calm in listening, endeavouring to enter 
into the spirit, the intention, and the wishes of those 
who are speaking, that you may know whether it is 
better to speak or to be silent. In the discussions 
which will arise, you must bring forward the reasons 
on both sides, so as not to seem to cling to your own- 
opinion. As far as you can, you should always act in 
such a way that no one will withdraw after your speech, , 
feeling less disposed to peace than he was at the 
beginning. If the subjects in debate are of such a 
nature that you are obliged to speak, express your 
opinion with modesty and serenity. Always end with 
these words: " In the absence of better advice," or some 
other equivalent. Finally, be fully persuaded of this, , 
that, to treat properly of important questions of Divine 
and human knowledge, it is well to discuss them quietly 
and calmly, not in haste, and, as it were, in passing. 
You should not therefore regulate the order and time 
of the discussion according to your leisure and con 
venience, but accommodate yourself to the hour of him 
who wishes to confer with you, that he may proceed 
more easily whither God desires to lead him. 

30. As when we treat with a large number of 
persons for spiritual good and the salvation of souls, 
we greatly advance God s glory, if He is propitious ;, 
so, if we are not on our guard, and if God does not aid 
us, we lose much and injure those with whom we deal. 
As, by virtue of the kind of life to which we are vowed, 
we are not allowed to refrain from these relations, the 
fruit which, under God, will result from them will be 
more prompt and more certain in proportion as we are 
better prepared and equipped beforehand. 



1 . He who wishes to treat with men and to live in 
peace amongst them should consider it a point of 
extreme importance to be just towards all and to injure 
no one. 

2. Ignatius profited by the short stay which he 
made in Spain, after leaving Paris, to repair an injury 
which he had formerly caused one of his countrymen. 
The first time that he spoke to his fellow-citizens in 
public, he told them that one of his principal motives 
for returning to his native country, after having 
forsaken it so long with the intention of never re 
appearing there, was to satisfy his conscience, which 
reproached him bitterly with the bad example he had 
set them in the wildness of his youth, which it was his 
duty to repair. 

" Since my departure," he added, " I have un 
ceasingly asked God with tears to forgive me for this. 
Forgive me also, in the name of the mercy which is 
granted even to grievous sinners, do not refuse to unite 
your pra)^ers with mine to help me to blot out the evil 
which I committed. If there be any amongst you 
whom I have scandalized in the past, I implore them 
to imitate henceforth my repentance." 

" Moreover, a rigorous debt of justice compelled me 
to return here in order to restore to one of you his honour 


and part of his possessions which I caused him to lose." 
At these words he named a person who was present 
and whom he had recognized in the crowd, and 
pointing him out, continued thus : " That innocent 
man was imprisoned and convicted for damage done in 
a garden, not by him, who was falsely accused of it, 
but by me and some young and giddy companions, who" 
had entered the garden and secretly stolen the fruit. 
Know now, all of you, his innocence and my guilt. 
In compensation for the wrong which I have occasioned 
him, I declare before you all, that you may be witnesses 
to the fact, that I cede to him the ownership of two 
farms which still belong to me, by way of lawful 
compensation, and even, if needful, by a gift pure and 

3. "It is better to gain your object by prayer, or 
even by purchase, rather than to engage in a lawsuit." 
A man who was bitterly opposed to the Saint, without 
being able to allege any reason for his evil disposition, 
had no sooner learnt that Ignatius had bought a house 
adjoining his own, than he used every means to render 
it impossible for the Servant of God to dwell in his 
new abode. He began by taking possession of a 
portion of the courtyard belonging to Ignatius, which 
he enclosed in his own property ; then he filled this 
courtyard with peacocks and other birds whose harsh 
-cries resounded day and night ; finally, he managed 
to make such an uproar in his house that the opposite 
rooms became uninhabitable. Moreover, the refectory 
of the community was very dark, and light only came 
to it from the court. Notwithstanding the request 
which had been made to him, this man would never 
allow a window to be opened in an intermediate 
wall, whatever right there might be to demand it ; so 
that for more than eight years while this annoyance 


asted, the lamps had often to be lighted in this room 
at noon. The Saint bore all this patiently until he was 
able to obtain possession of his neighbour s house, 
which the latter agreed to part with for an exorbitant 
price fixed by himself. He then departed, but left the 
property in such a dilapidated state that it was more 
like a ruined hovel which had been pillaged by soldiers, 
.than a habitable dwelling. He had carried away the 
windows, doors, iron-work, and all the carvings which 
he had been able to detach. Ignatius, however, made 
no appeal to the tribunals, and would not allow any 
prosecution ; he made no complaint, manifested neither 
resentment nor vexation, but took possession of the 
four walls that were left, as peacefully as he would 
have done of a house given up with a good grace and 
furnished with all that could be desired. 

4. "It is not only generous and most worthy of 
a true Christian not to engage in a lawsuit, but it is 
.also advantageous, God being accustomed to reward 
largely those whom charity has induced to give up their 
own interests." Far from injuring any one in any way, 
Ignatius, to maintain charity with his neighbour, often 
yielded his own rights, and whenever conscience would 
allow him, he endured injustice without opposing any 
claim, so great was his horror of all kinds of litigation. 
A rich inhabitant of Saragossa, John Gonzalez, having 
lost his wife, devoted his house to be an establishment 
for Christian Virgins who were to educate his daughters. 
After several years trial, this establishment not fulfil 
ling the end which he had intended, the founder insti 
tuted the necessary proceeding at Rome for authorizing 
a transfer; and, in place of the nuns, he installed a 
College of the Society. All went well during the life of 
Gonzalez, but at his death there was discord among 
his children concerning the foundation made by their 


father. One of his daughters wished to give back the 
house to the nuns ; the sons, on the other hand, taking 
their stand upon the last wishes of Gonzalez, required 
the continuance of the Fathers. The quarrel became 
bitter, but when Ignatius heard of it, being always 
opposed to disputes, he ordered his children to sacrifice 
their rights and to withdraw. 

5. The Society had no sooner begun to open public 
schools in Rome, than certain masters who taught in 
other schools, seeing the number of their scholars 
diminish, conceived much displeasure thereat, and in 
their exasperation they came and reviled our Fathers 
in a shameful way. They were only answered by 
a modest silence, and withdrew in. confusion. It was 
to be feared that this scene would be repeated else 
where under the same circumstances. To put an end 
to all altercation, Ignatius wrote everywhere to desire 
that these attacks should always be answered with 
humility. He said : " If we are accused of ignorance," 
which was generally the principal complaint brought 
forward, "we should answer: We do indeed know little,, 
and we are well aware of it, but we willingly teach the 
little which we know to those who are ignorant of it." 

6. Whatever wrong was done to Ignatius, or what 
ever injustice was committed towards him, when it 
only concerned himself, and the honour of God and 
his neighbour s welfare were not affected, he did not 
complain, but left the field open for the malignity of 
his adversaries. He did this both at Alcala and 
Salamanca. In these two places he was, on a mere 
suspicion, arrested, thrown into prison and chained. 
He remained captive as long as the magistrates chose 
to retain him, he made no effort to be restored to 
liberty or to mitigate his detention, refusing the good 
offices of those who offered to intercede with the judges. 


in his favour, and saying: " He, for the love of Whom 
I am imprisoned here, can deliver me when He sees 
fit." Far from pitying himself, he was full of joy, 
esteeming himself only too fortunate to drink some 
drops of the chalice of his beloved Master. 

7. To induce Ignatius to consent to defend himself 
against the injurious suspicions, calumniatory accusa 
tions, and unjust treatment to which he was so often 
exposed, it was necessary for our Lord s interests to be 
at stake. When he was going through the course at 
the College of Saint Barbara in Paris, he had succeeded 
in winning over several of the young men who were 
studying with him to the practice of a seriously 
Christian life. Enraged at these good results which 
were a promise of others, the devil wished them to be 
expiated by their author, and at the same time to 
render him unable to continue to injure his empire. 
He therefore set to work to ruin him in the eyes of his 
fellow-students, by dishonouring him in such a manner 
that none of them would henceforth maintain relations 
with him, and thus all his efforts to lead them to what 
was good would be unavailing for the future. For this 
purpose, he skilfully fanned the selfish jealousy of 
a master named Pegna, making him imagine that the 
prosperity of the College would be ruined and that the 
decay of study was inevitable, unless the evil was 
promptly remedied by preventing the Servant of God 
from distracting from their work, as he was then doing 
through the excess of a pious but indiscreet zeal, the 
young people who were formerly so eager to learn. 
Pegna, though not an ill-disposed man, did not perceive 
the snare. He went to the principal, Dr. Govea, told 
him his imaginary grievances, and required the guilty 
person to be punished in an exemplary manner which 
would restore order. Deceived in his turn, Govea 


shared the feelings of the master, and they agreed that 
on the morrow Ignatius should be beaten in presence 
of the whole College. The thing was to be kept secret 
until the execution : nevertheless it transpired, and 
a friend of the Saint heard of it. He at once came to 
Ignatius, told him of the plot laid against him, and 
urged him to absent himself, representing to him that 
it would be quite easy to do so by not going out the 
following day. Ignatius thanked his friend, but declined 
to profit by his advice, not wishing to lose the oppor 
tunity of being persecuted for his Master s sake. 

The next day he was going to Saint Barbara as 
usual, relishing beforehand the odious treatment which 
he was about to undergo. But suddenly, by the way, 
our Lord disclosed to him the devil s artifice, making 
him at the same time understand that, when the two 
are opposed to each other, zeal for souls should be 
preferred to the love of the Cross, and that on the 
present occasion his honour was needed and that he 
was obliged to shelter it. 

His mind occupied with these thoughts, the Servant 
of God entered the College, when the doors were 
immediately closed after him. Masters and students, 
summoned by the sound of the bell, assembled in the 
great hall and waited for what would happen. In 
performance of the order received, the Corrector went 
to Ignatius and told him to follow him. Ignatius 
promised to do so, but asked to speak first to the 
Principal, who was still in his own room. He was 
conducted to Govea, and when in his presence, he said 
to him : " If I had had more regard for my reputation 
and for my ease than for the interests of God and of 
my brethren, I should have taken care not to set foot 
in the College to-day. I was aware, before coming 
here, of the shame and the punishment intended for 
me. But, considering that nothing can be more merit- 


orious to me, nor more glorious, than to endure oppro 
brium and blows for my Saviour s sake, Who first 
suffered so much for me, I did not stay away, but came 
of my own accord without any constraint to meet 
the cruel and ignominious treatment which you are 
preparing to inflict upon me. It does not alarm me. 
The prisons at Alcala and Salamanca prepared me long 
ago for the most savage affronts. 

" Nevertheless, I ought not to look at it exclusively 
from the point of view of my own desires. I ought to 
consider also my neighbour s profit and his everlasting 
salvation. For some time back, thanks to Heaven, 
I have succeeded in withdrawing from the depths of 
vice a large number of young persons, but I have with 
difficulty managed to save them from the contagion of 
bad company. When it becomes known everywhere 
that I have been publicly treated with such indignity, 
I apprehend that the dread of sharing the infamy 
with which I shall have been loaded, will alienate 
for ever those who have hitherto listened to me. The 
human mind is so inconstant, that I fear that I shall 
see them make shipwreck again upon the rocks whither 
the passions of youth and the current of evil habits will 
lead them. 

" Moreover, to tell .the plain truth, I feel deep 
compassion for you and Master Pegna. You have 
both bound yourselves by oath to profess the Christian 
faith and piety, you are under the obligation to set 
every one an example of justice and virtue, yet not 
withstanding you act in so outrageous a manner 
towards a servant of Jesus Christ, precisely because he 
is labouring for the interests of Jesus Christ. You apply 
a law which is only aimed against debauchees and 
persons of scandalous life, against those who despise 
and trample upon the regulations, and against those 
who disturb the order and peace of the College, to the 


case of a man who is labouring to re-establish purity 
of manners amongst the youth here, who is striving to 
render them respectful and docile towards the masters, 
and to cause concord and charity to reign amongst all 
the members of the College. 

"As for me, although I am always prepared to 
suffer all that the hatred of my enemies can invent, and 
even to allow them to shed my blood, yet when I think 
of all this, it appears to me so important, that I should 
consider myself to fail in what conscience demands 
from me, were I not to communicate it to you while 
nothing is definitively done, and there is yet time. 

" As I have already stated to you, my most earnest 
longing is to be persecuted for Jesus Christ s sake. You 
have only to say the word, and I will immediately 
deliver myself up to your apparitor. It is now for 
you to decide whether your piety and your justice will 
permit you to utter such a sentence, in a cause like this, 
in Paris, within the precincts of the College of Saint 

These words opened the eyes of the Principal. 
He was touched to the heart, and could at first only 
reply by tears. Then, taking the hand of Ignatius 
affectionately, he led him to the great hall. There, in 
the presence of the whole College, after having delivered 
a great eulogy concerning him, he humbly knelt and 
begged him to forgive the injustice which he had been 
guilty of towards him. From that time Govea and 
Pegna were firm friends of Ignatius, and many years 
after it was at the recommendation of the former 
Principal of Saint Barbara that John III., King of 
Portugal, solicited the Sovereign Pontiff to send some 
of the first companions of the Servant of God to India. 

8. "Truth is of itself sufficient to obtain recognition, 
Avhilst falsehood is only supported by the darkness in 


which it envelopes itself; in order to put it to shame 
and to cause it to vanish, truth has only to show itself." 
When Ignatius was obliged to defend himself, the 
method he used, as far as it depended upon himself, 
consisted in simply and peaceably revealing the truth. 
The whole of Rome had risen against him, all his 
friends had forsaken him, one alone, Antonio Garzonio, 
remaining faithful to him. As this man used to take 
his part on all occasions, Cardinal de Cupis, his friend 
and relation, reproached him with it, and advised him 
to avoid Ignatius, " not only," he said, " because the 
society of persons of bad reputation always brings 
dishonour to those who frequent it, but also on account 
of the danger to salvation which is caused by associat 
ing with obstinate and irreligious men." " I assure 
you," answered Garzonio, " that if you know him 
as I know him, instead of urging me not to see 
him, you would seek him yourself." " You have to 
deal," replied the Cardinal, in a tone of compassion, 
"with a clever impostor who possesses, in addition 
to his other vices, the art of seducing those who 
approach him, and he is, not without reason, accused 
of sorcery." 

Garzonio related to Ignatius the same day the 
conversation which he. had held with his relative. 
Ignatius remained undisturbed, and praised the pru 
dence of the Cardinal, who, having an unfavourable 
opinion of the manners and doctrine of a man, did not 
wish any one to hold intercourse with him. He merely 
said that if he had the opportunity of conversing with 
this Prince of the Church, he firmly hoped to be able 
to undeceive him. Garzonio therefore obtained an 
audience for him, promising the Cardinal that if, after 
having heard the Servant of God, he persisted in 
condemning him, he would also hold him guilty and at 
once break with him. Prophesying truly though without 


knowing it, the Cardinal replied : " Let him come then,, 
and I will treat him as he deserves." 

Ignatius appeared before the Cardinal with the 
modest assurance which innocence alone gives. It is- 
not known precisely what passed, but the conversation 
lasted nearly two hours, and the Cardinal, completely 
undeceived, threw himself at the feet of Ignatius, to 
ask his pardon ; on leaving, he accompanied him to the 
door with great signs of favour and esteem, and from 
that day until the end of his life, he sent him a large 
alms every week. 

9. Ignatius did not decide to repel in a direct 
manner the unjust attacks aimed at himself and his 
children unless all other effectual means failed him ; 
he thought that in certain cases the best refutation 
of calumny is to seem untroubled at it, though prepared 
to act openly, if it should become necessary. The 
Faculty of Theology at Paris had passed a most severe 
censure upon the Society, founded upon false accusa 
tions. This document having arrived in Rome, the 
Fathers were unanimously of the opinion that a formal 
answer should be given, by a well drawn up defence. 
Ignatius thought differently, and ordered silence on 
the subject. He judged rightly, that the censure bore 
too evidently the marks of exaggeration to be very 
dangerous, and he feared that a direct reply, however 
moderate it might be, would only irritate minds instead 
of calming them. 

He was satisfied, for the time, with saying smilingly 
these words of admirable wisdom : " Remember, I 
entreat you, Fathers, the words which Christ addressed 
to His Apostles on returning to His Father : Peace 
I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, and 
imagine that our Lord addresses them to you to-day. 
We must therefore write nothing and do nothing at 

ON JUSTICE. n 3 . 

which any one may take offence. On certain occasions, 
it is better to be silent than to speak, and we have no 
need to take up the pen in our own defence, when the 
truth defends itself. The authority of the Faculty at 
Paris is certainly great, and we ought to respect it 
highly, nevertheless let it not trouble us. Nothing 
prevails long against the truth ; it may be impugned,, 
but it cannot be overcome. If it should be necessary, 
but I hope that things will not go so far, we will employ 
another remedy to heal this wound. Meanwhile, do- 
not let us embitter the rage of our adversaries, but 
mollify it by our patience. God is our Protector, let us 
commit our cause to Him and we shall triumph over 
this calumny." 

As some of his children had yet some difficulty in 
submitting, the Saint addressed a public exhortation 
to the community, insisting strongly upon the two 
following points : " It is not allowable for true religious, 
even when seriously injured, to give way to irritation, 
nor to cherish desires for revenge, which they might 
vainly seek to conceal under the specious pretext that 
self-defence is necessary. Besides, in the present case, 
mere prudence forbids us to perpetuate the quarrel by 
answers, and to draw down upon us thus the enmity of 
the whole body, above all such a powerful body as that 
of the Doctors at Paris." 

Nevertheless, Ignatius did not remain inactive. He 
wrote to all the Superiors of the Society desiring them 
to solicit authentic attestations from the ecclesiastical 
and secular authorities in the places where they resided, 
as to their life, doctrine, and Institute, and to send 
them to him that he might use them if necessary. 
This precaution was, however, needless ; for, as the 
Saint had foreseen, the censure passed by the Doctors 
was soon forgotten. The Society, which did not up 
to that time possess a single College in France, saw 


two opened in the following year, and these same 
Doctors declared that the children of Ignatius, whom 
they had previously wished to keep away, ought to 
be welcomed. 

10. It often happened that insulting reports, mis 
chievous sayings, and slanderous imputations which 
the malignity of envious persons did not fail to circulate 
concerning the Society, were repeated to Ignatius. 
Instead of being troubled and calling the authors of 
them to account, he endeavoured to extract good from 
their false inventions, so as to rouse himself and his 
children to do good, contenting himself by answering 
with perfect calmness : " God grant that when they 
speak evil of us it may never be true." 

11. However, there was one accusation which 
Ignatius would not endure for an instant, and against 
which he always protested with all his might, until 
justice had been formally done to him by the autho 
rities, and that was, the accusation of heresy. Although 
he turned all the calumnies to such good account, 
which were so frequently accumulated by his enemies 
in order to lower and disgrace him, he used every 
means to prevent the slightest shadow of suspicion 
being ever able to hover over the purity of his doctrine. 
This was because, in this matter, the interests of 
God were at stake, because God s glory is inseparable 
from His honour, and because for the fulfilment of 
his mission, a spotless reputation was indispensable. 
Whenever he knew himself to be accused on this 
delicate point, he could not rest until his innocence was 
completely manifested. Nothing stopped him, he did not 
wait to be cited before the ecclesiastical tribunals ; he 
immediately appeared of his own accord at their bar, 
he brought the matter before them, demanded an inquiry, 


begged that it might be carefully made, forced his 
accusers to appear, and summoned them to produce 
their proofs. If they retracted what they had said and 
an attempt was made to hush up the affair and leave 
it in that state, he would not hear of it, but brought an 
appeal ; he was not contented with a kind of half- 
satisfaction, it must be complete ; he required an 
authoritative declaration which would do justice to 
his perfect orthodoxy. 

Ignatius had temporarily left Paris for Rouen to 
fulfil a work of charity. He had been there for some 
time when one day, in the street, a messenger gave 
him a letter from one of his friends informing him that 
his departure had been mischievously interpreted, and 
that in his absence he had been denounced to the 
Inquisition as a magician and suspected of heresy. 
Without losing a moment he went with the messenger 
to a notary, and, in the presence of two witnesses, he 
had a deed drawn up attesting that, immediately after 
he received the letter, he had set out on his return to 
the capital. He did so in reality, accompanied for 
some distance by the notary and the witnesses. As 
soon as he arrived, before returning to his abode, he 
went straight to the Inquisitor, presented him with the 
certificate with which he had taken care to furnish 
himself, and declared that he placed himself at his 
disposal to be examined in due form. The Inquisitor 
was at that time the celebrated Dominican, Matthew 
Ori, and he answered, that he had indeed been accused, 
and that he had been obliged to institute the inquiries 
concerning him which his office demanded, but that 
these had elicited nothing to his disadvantage. He 
added that his prompt return and anxiety to present 
himself, when he had not even been summoned, com 
pletely put an end to all suspicion, and that he had 
nothing to fear. 


12. Ignatius was preparing to leave Paris to go to 
Spain, and thence to Italy, when at the moment of 
his departure, the necessity of silencing a grievous^ 
calumny retained him in France for some days longer. 

He had been denounced a second time to the 
Inquisition. The Inquisitor to whom the accusers had 
applied, was Matthew Ori, who knew Ignatius. He 
had already had the opportunity of doing him full 
justice under similar circumstances, and since that 
time the Saint had often brought to him heretics who 
had been freed from their errors by his zeal, that he 
might reconcile them with the Church. Nevertheless,. 
that he might not seem to fail in the duties of his office,, 
Matthew Ori secretly instituted a new inquiry which, 
like the former, resulted in bringing the innocence of 
the accused to light. He therefore abandoned the 
process without even taking the trouble to interrogate 
the Servant of God. 

This had happened without the knowledge of 
Ignatius, but he was soon informed of it, and was of 
opinion that the matter could not be allowed to rest 
there. Fearing that his departure might be mistaken 
for flight, if he were to leave Paris before his innocence 
was completely proved, he went to the Inquisitor, 
and begged him, not only to investigate the matter 
thoroughly, but also to pronounce a formal judgment 
after a complete examination. The Inquisitor received 
the Saint kindly, and replied that he had not discovered 
any irregularity in his behaviour, that the complaints 
made against him were groundless, and that it would 
be waste of time to take any further notice of them. 

Ignatius thanked the Inquisitor, but pointed out to 
him respectfully that, desiring to bequeath a spotless 
reputation to his children, private testimony was not 
sufficient, which, however favourable it might be, was 
not of a nature to silence his detractors, and he begged 


him to add to it a juridical sentence setting forth the 
motives which determined him to let the accusation 
drop which had been brought against him. " As long 
as I was alone," he said, " I despised the calumnies of 
my enemies ; far from causing me fear, they were my 
delight, but now I am no longer at liberty to act 
thus. I have companions, destined like myself to 
labour for the salvation of souls, their honour and mine 
are no longer our own, but belong to God, to Whose 
service we are bound. We have no right to allow 
ourselves to be unjustly deprived of it. Since you have 
acknowledged my innocence, declare it authoritatively, 
and give me a formal and official document which I 
can produce if necessary." 

The Inquisitor could not refuse to agree to what 
Ignatius demanded, but, however well-disposed he was 
towards him, attaching no doubt the same importance 
as the Saint did to what he solicited so earnestly, he 
was in no hurry to grant it. Ignatius was not dis 
couraged, he made request after request, returning to 
the charge a second and third time. Failing to obtain 
anything, in spite of all his efforts, he took an extreme 
course. Accompanied by a notary, and by several 
doctors who served as witnesses, he appeared before 
the Inquisitor, and demanded energetically a sentence 
pronouncing him innocent, which was given to him 
forthwith, and of which he caused authentic copies to 
be made by the notary, to carry away with him. 

13. Ignatius was at Venice, which had been fixed 
as the meeting-place with his companions, and whence 
they were all to embark together for Jerusalem. The 
devil did not leave him in peace there any more than 
elsewhere. False rumours were spread against him, 
and soon obtained credit. It was affirmed that he had 
been condemned in Spain and in France as a heretic, 


and that he had been obliged to flee, in order to escape 
from capital punishment. They went so far as to say 
that he had a familiar devil in his service to warn him 
of everything, and that, when he was discovered in one 
place, he fled to another, before he could be seized by 
justice. Faithful to the line of conduct which he had 
marked out for himself in similar cases, Ignatius, as- 
soon as he heard what was said of him, went to the 
Nuncio, Jerome Veralli, without waiting to be sent 
for, and begged that Prelate to have a trial held in 
which he must appear either as accuser or as accused. 
The Nuncio consented to do so, and the result of the 
inquiry was a juridical sentence exonerating the Servant 
of God from all reproach, and declaring his accusers 
guilty of falsehood and calumny. 

14. On the testimony of Ignatius himself, the 
following is the roughest and most dangerous attack 
which he had to encounter, and with him, for the first 
time, his Society. The Society did not then, properly 
speaking, exist, but having been conceived long since 
in the mind and heart of its Founder, it only awaited 
a favourable moment to make its appearance in the 
world, and to ask for a place in the Church amongst 
the religious Institutes. For this purpose, the Servant 
of God had summoned to Rome his first disciples, to 
concert with them. After having employed themselves 
all day earnestly and with much fruit for the good of 
souls, they used to meet every evening and remain 
until a late hour conferring together as to their under 
taking, and deciding upon the final arrangements. 
All was proceeding well, and, notwithstanding immense 
obstacles, inevitable in such a case, success could be 
hoped for. However, Hell could not behold without 
anger the approaching foundation of a new Order 
destined to wage a ceaseless warfare against it, and it 


resolved to prevent, at whatever cost, its establishment, 
and even to render its commencement impossible. 
With the help of its agents, it stirred up a frightful 
tempest against Ignatius and his children, and it will 
be seen how the Saint showed more strikingly on this 
than on any other occasion of his life, with what 
prudence, energy, and charity, we ought to defend 
ourselves, when it is indispensable to do so, for 
God s honour and for the good of our neighbour. For 
this reason, we will relate the matter fully with all 

Profiting by the absence of the Pope and the 
Cardinals, who had gone to Nice, to arrange the 
disputes which had arisen between the two most 
powerful monarchs of Christendom, Francis I. and 
Charles V., an Augustinian monk endeavoured secretly 
to introduce Protestantism into Rome. Ignatius and 
his companions were told of this, and they desired to 
ascertain for themselves whether anything so unlikely 
were true. To make sure, they were present not once 
only, but many times, at the sermons delivered by this 
monk, and they returned fully convinced that in his 
person they had to do with one of Luther s adepts. 
Before opposing him openly, they tried the means 
pointed out in Scripture, and, going to him, gently 
showed him his errors, striving at the same time to 
lead him back to better sentiments. Far from obtaining 
such a result, this proceeding only made the presump 
tuous sectary more audacious. 

In presence of the danger which threatened souls, 
Ignatius judged that not a moment should be lost in 
averting it. He and his children ascended the pulpit 
in the ten principal churches of the city and there, each 
for his part, undertook the task of establishing power 
fully and clearly the points attacked by the heretic. 
Nevertheless, as a last precaution inspired by chanty, 


they refrained carefully from attacking him personally 
or designating him by name. 

The Augustinian felt the blow, though it only struck 
him indirectly, and he began to fear for his safety ; but, 
hoping to avert the storm which he saw gathering 
over his head, by drawing it down upon others, he en 
deavoured to cause the sin of which people began to 
suspect him, to be attributed to Ignatius. He had 
powerful friends, and, amongst them, two Spaniards 
especially, Mudarra and Barreria, who agreed to further 
his false purpose. They suborned, by means of money, 
another Spaniard, named Michael Navarro. This man 
had formerly been loaded with benefits by Ignatius, 
but had some time since completely turned against 
him, because the Saint had refused to admit him to 
the Society, not deeming him fit for it. This man 
undertook to denounce Ignatius to the ecclesiastical 

The authors of the plot, having thus distributed the 
parts, set to work without delay. Whilst Mudarra 
and Barreria spread in every direction, but discreetly 
so as not to compromise themselves, their calumnies 
against Ignatius, the Augustinian, on his side, attacked 
him openly in his sermons. One day, after having 
praised the faith of the primitive Church, and insisted 
on the necessity of continuing inviolably attached to it, 
he went so far as to say to his hearers, that they had to 
beware of a wolf disguised not only as a sheep, but as 
a pastor ; that the person whom he meant by saying 
this had formerly gone through the most celebrated 
universities of Europe, making great ravages amongst 
souls in every place ; that now, emboldened by his 
previous successes and supported by men animated 
with the same spirit as his own, he had come to Rome 
to make a supreme effort against the ancient religion. 
"You should not forget, Christians," he added, "that 


the favourers of heresy have always been artful enough 
to impute to others their own wrong doctrines, in order 
that it may be believed that they have nothing in 
common with the errors which they pretend to combat 
in their brethren. . . . Know also, that the Church has 
never had to defend itself against any sects more to be 
dreaded than those which have arisen under the mask 
of holiness. Do not be caught in such a snare. Those 
coarse and worn-out garments, those severe fasts, that 
humble way of speaking, in which self is mentioned 
with contempt, that life of poverty even to penury, 
that apparent detachment from all worldly interests, 
that ostentatious avoidance of the slightest faults, what 
do they really conceal? . . . Ah!" he exclaimed, letting 
fall the veil, " how evil it will be for it, if the capital of 
the Christian world does not show itself as vigilant as 
Alcala, or Paris, or as Venice was still more recently, 
where Ignatius, convicted of heresy, only escaped 
capital punishment by flight or recantation. . . . 
Moreover, in Rome itself, there are men of irreproach 
able faith, his countrymen, ready to give evidence 
against him. One of them is the more deserving of 
trust because he was for a short time seduced by his 
artifices and became his disciple; he soon became 
aware of the danger which he had incurred by so doing, 
and left him with horror." 

The person whom the Augustinian thus summoned 
to his aid was Michael Navarro. According to the 
plan arranged with his accomplices, this man had 
presented himself before the Governor of Rome, and 
declared to him that the chief of certain foreign priests 
lately arrived in the city was a heretic and a magician, 
who had been burnt in effigy at Alcala, Paris, and 
Venice. He had protested upon oath that conscience 
alone obliged him to accuse a man of his own nation. 
He advanced nothing, he added, which he had not 


himself seen, and of which he could not produce 
unexceptionable proofs. 

This was enough to destroy in a moment the favour 
able feelings of the multitude towards Ignatius and his 
companions. Those who had been most highly extolled, 
and in whose praise enough could not be said, were 
now, in the eyes of all, great criminals, guilty of every 
imaginable crime. Their virtues were changed into 
vices. Their former friends forsook them, and denied 
that they had ever known them ; things went so far,, 
that two virtuous priests, who had been given to them 
as assistants in hearing confessions, fled precipitately 
from the States of the Church, for fear of being con 
founded with them. They were pointed at as scoundrels 
of the worst description, who might be expected at any 
moment to be dragged to prison and thence to execu 
tion. The calumny was spread far and wide, increasing 
as it went. Letters announced everywhere that at last 
it was known what to think about them, and that they 
could not long escape the capital punishment which 
they deserved only too well. This cruel state of things 
lasted eight months. 

During the whole time Ignatius kept up his children s 
courage and never let himself become depressed. He 
had unceasing recourse to our Lord, in Whom alone 
he placed all his hope; but he acted as well, and 
neglected nothing in order to obtain the triumph of 
what he considered the cause of God. As soon as 
there was any likelihood of doing so successfully, he 
addressed a request to the Governor of Rome, asking 
him to examine the accusations which had been brought 
against him, and then to give a formal sentence. The 
Governor attended to his request, and summoned the 
parties to appear before him on a given day. 

Before the tribunal, Navarro impudently repeated 
his calumnies and swore by all that is most sacred that 


he spoke the truth. Ignatius quietly let him go on 
speaking as long as he chose. When he had concluded, 
the Saint, as his only answer, presented him with a 
letter and asked him to say whether he recognized the 
handwriting. " Yes, it is mine," answered the accuser, 
who did not know what Ignatius was aiming at. The 
letter was really from him, and had been written to one 
of his friends some months before, when he had not as 
yet broken with Ignatius, into whose hands it had 
providentially fallen. " Since this letter was written 
by you," said Ignatius, " be so good as to read it with 
me. Hitherto it is not you whom we have listened to, 
but another person speaking with your mouth, and 
whose lesson you have repeated. It is now time that 
you should be heard, speaking under the inspiration 
of your own feelings, and of the favourable opinion 
which you formerly charitably formed of me." The 
letter was then read, and in it Navarro, speaking 
as an eye-witness, was unwearied in his praise of 
Ignatius and his companions, saying that he had 
observed them closely at Paris and Venice, that they 
led an irreproachable life, and were truly apostolical 
men, &c. 

The unexpected reading of this letter, so much to 
the purpose, quite produced the effect which Ignatius 
expected ; it was a thunder-clap for Navarro, who 
changed colour, and began to tremble. Seeing himself 
confounded by his own testimony, and not knowing 
what to do to escape from the dilemma, he at first 
kept silence. He then tried to recover himself, but 
only succeeded in muttering some incoherent words, 
which were so confused that it was impossible to 
know whether he continued to accuse Ignatius, or 
whether he was defending himself. The Governor 
began to perceive the real state of the case, and 
pressed him with so many questions, turning him 


about in all directions, that he at last succeeded in 
obtaining the whole truth. 

A remarkable concurrence of circumstances, in 
which it is impossible not to recognize the hand of 
Providence, completed the exposure of this imposture. 
When no one was dreaming of such a thing, truth came 
as an avenger from the very places which had been 
selected for the scene of the falsehood. Suddenly there 
arrived in Rome from different places, the three judges 
who, after inquiry, had solemnly acquitted Ignatius of 
all blame, at Venice, Paris, and Alcala. Separate 
interests only had apparently brought each of them 
to the capital of the Christian world, but in reality 
God had ordered their simultaneous presence there to 
put to nought, with one blow, the whole of the calumnies 
which had hitherto been accumulated against His 
servant. Instead of judges, as before, they now 
became witnesses, and rendered striking homage to 
the innocence of Ignatius. Navarro, overwhelmed by 
the weight of their depositions, was condemned to 
perpetual banishment, and, if it had not been for the 
generous intervention of him whom he had accused, 
he would not have come off so well. 

It might now have seemed that Ignatius had only 
to return thanks to God, and that the justification 
which he desired was complete. He, however, was 
not of that opinion, and in this he acted wisely. The 
sentence of exile pronounced against Navarro, no 
doubt destroyed all belief in the dreadful calumnies 
uttered by that wretch, but the Spaniards, who had 
stirred him up against the Saint, had not been 
unmasked. It was necessary to force them also to 
retract their lies publicly, which, without this, would 
still have currency throughout the world, and obtain 
credence. Ignatius therefore summoned Mudarra and 
Barreria to appear before the Governor in their turn, 


and compelled them to prove their infamous allegations, 
or to confess that they were slanderers. Terrified by 
the fate of Navarro, they would willingly have avoided 
appearing ; but they were obliged to do so. 

When summoned to produce proofs in support of 
the falsehoods which they had disseminated, they 
excused themselves by proclaiming loudly that injustice 
was done to them, that they had never entertained the 
purpose attributed to them, that far from discovering 
anything reprehensible in Ignatius and his companions, 
they were full of admiration for them, and that they 
only spoke of them with praise, &c. . . Lastly, fearing 
that if things went further, what it was so much 
their interest to bury in oblivion, would come to light, 
they ended by demanding that the process should 
be abandoned which their formal declaration had 
rendered fruitless, by destroying its foundation. In 
proposing this solution, they hoped that Ignatius 
would be taken in by it, and even flattered them 
selves that he would unite with them in asking the 
Governor to let things rest thus, thinking that he must 
be weary of having such a disagreeable affair so long in 
his hands, of which the issue might cause him anxiety 
in spite of his innocence, and that he would consider 
himself fortunate to get rid of it thus, and would 
willingly seize the opportunity offered to terminate it 
with this half-satisfaction. 

Mudarra and Barreria were mistaken. Ignatius did 
not agree to this as they expected ; in vain did they 
urge him themselves, and bring powerful influences to 
bear upon him ; Ignatius was inflexible. He well knew 
that a tree which is cut off level with the ground 
sometimes puts out vigorous shoots, if some of its 
roots are allowed to remain in the soil ; he would not 
suffer any such to be left as to the odious attacks aimed 
at him. He said that in time Navarro s punishment 


would be forgotten and also the retractation of his 
accomplices, that if there were not a document in 
favour of the accused to explain the interruption of 
the suit commenced against them, and of which the 
registers of the tribunal preserved the traces, it might 
be supposed that by means of their credit and their 
intrigues, they had checked the course of justice 
through fear of an unpleasant issue. Nevertheless, 
whilst persisting in obtaining a sentence, the Saint 
protested that he did not ask for his adversaries to be 
punished, on the contrary, that he forgave them heartily, 
and that he only claimed that the cause should be 
examined juridically, that a verdict might afterwards 
be given according to the truth as it should then appear. 
Although the request of Ignatius was quite fair, and 
did not seem difficult to grant, he encountered obstacles 
on all sides. The Governor, a just but weak man, who 
feared to make enemies, if he were to declare himself 
too openly on his side, dared neither to concede nor to 
refuse what he asked, and, in spite of repeated demands, 
let the thing drag on. Moreover, at the solicitation of 
the Spaniards, the Cardinal Legate, the principal 
authority in Rome during the absence of the Sovereign 
Pontiff, was of the opinion that things should go no 
further, and commanded them to rest where they were. 
Even amongst the friends and companions of the Saint 
there were some who differed from him on this point. 
They said that it was enough for them to have had 
their innocence acknowledged, and that to proceed 
further would have the appearance of revenge, and 
would not be to the edification of the public. This 
opposition did not move Ignatius, who was as jealous 
of his honour when the interests of religion required 
it, as he was eager for shame on other occasions. In 
a letter written at this time to a Venetian patrician, he 
discloses to us the thoughts which caused him to act 


thus. " I am well aware," he wrote, " that we shall not 
silence people by this, and I am not so ill-advised as 
to expect it ; we desire only to save the honour of 
religion, which is in a manner attached to our own. 
It matters little to us if we are taken for ignorant 
persons, or even if we are believed to be knaves ; but 
what we cannot endure without betraying our ministry, 
is that the doctrines which we preach should pass for 
false in the minds of the people, and that the path by 
which we lead souls should be considered the road to 
perdition ; because this teaching is that of Jesus Christ, 
and this path is the way of salvation." 

After many fruitless attempts, Ignatius, convinced 
that he should obtain nothing from the Governor, and 
checked above all by the prohibition of the Cardinal 
Legate, thought that the shortest and surest plan was 
to apply directly to the Pope, who was about to return 
to his States. He commended himself to God, offering 
the Holy Sacrifice many times with this intention, and 
as soon as he heard of the arrival of the Pontiff, he 
caused a devoted friend to speak to him. The Pope 
promised to have the wished-for declaration given. 
However, the matter not proceeding further, Ignatius 
sent two of his children, who conversed with the 
Pope again on the subject. But the Pope having left 
Rome immediately after the interview, Ignatius went 
to Frascati, and spent an hour with His Holiness, 
explaining to him his design and his projects. Not 
wishing the Pope to learn what concerned him from 
other persons, he frankly related the number of times 
that he had been proceeded against in Spain and at 
Paris, and how often he had been imprisoned at Alcala 
and Salamanca. He then came to the persecution in 
Rome. He represented to the Holy Father that in 
order to preach with success, he needed a good reputa 
tion before God and man, and that it was necessary to 


remove all suspicion from his teaching and manner of 
life. In the name of his companions and in his own, 
he entreated His Holiness, for the remedy of the 
present evil, to charge an ordinary judge, chosen by 
himself, to obtain exact information about him and 
his children, that if found guilty they might be censured 
and punished, and if, on the contrary, they were inno 
cent, the Vicar of Jesus Christ might shelter them 
under his protection. The Pope listened kindly, and 
hastened to send one of the prelates of his Court to 
the Governor, with orders to resume the business 
without any delay. The Governor obeyed, and the 
process was recommenced. The Servant of God and 
his companions were fully justified. 

15. A religious of renown, and estimable in other 
respects, but blinded by excessive passion, had stirred 
up a violent persecution at Salamanca against the 
children of St. Ignatius, whom he denounced as the 
forerunners of Antichrist. Some of his brethren, led 
away by him, manifested the same hostility, though 
disowned by their General. Concerning this, Ignatius 
wrote to John of Avila, one of his most devoted friends 
in Spain, a letter, from which we quote the following 
passage: "You have heard certain things which are 
favourable to our brethren in the Lord. It seems to 
me in this Divine Master that you ought also to be 
informed of such as are contrary to them. Indeed, I 
expect, and doubt not, that they will be relieved from 
the heavy spiritual trial which is now weighing upon 
them, and that all will turn to the greater glory of 
God. These are the facts : At Salamanca they have 
experienced, and are still experiencing, a violent oppo 
sition on the part of some religious, urged rather, in 
my opinion, by an unhappy zeal than by enlightened 
knowledge. This opposition has lasted ten months. 


and recent letters tell me that it has increased. It 
passes all bounds, so that we have been obliged to take 
measures in conformity with what St. Augustine and 
many other doctors teach us. St. Augustine says : 
Our life is necessary to us, and our good reputation 
is necessary to others. St. Chrysostom says to us: 
Learn from the Gospel to bear your own injuries 
with magnanimity, but to be unwilling even to hear 
insults against God. St. Jerome expresses himself 
thus : In what concerns the sin of heresy, I do 
not wish any one to bear patiently to be accused 
of it. St. Thomas Aquinas says on this subject : 
* We are bound to be prepared to suffer outrages, 
if it be expedient to do so for the cause of God ; 
but under certain circumstances we should resist 
the outrage done to us, and that chiefly for two 
reasons : First, for the good of him who commits it, 
in order that his audacity may be repressed, and that 
in future he may be deterred from such attempts, 
according to the saying in the Book of Proverbs : 
" Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he imagine 
himself to be wise." Secondly, for the good of a great 
number of persons whose spiritual advancement is 
checked by the outrages committed against us. This 
caused St. Gregory to say : Those whose life is before 
the public as an example to imitate, ought, if possible, 
to silence their detractors, lest those who might listen 
to their preaching should become unwilling to do so, 
and thus, continuing in their depraved habits, take no 
more trouble to lead a good life. St. Bonaventura 
speaks thus in his apology : Since you ought to 
bear patiently all the wrongs committed against you, 
and ought not on their account either to utter or to stir 
up any complaint ; how is it that you do not act thus ? 
How is it that, not satisfied with the judgment of the 
bishops, you obtain judges from the Apostolic See, you 


cite before their tribunal those who molest you, even 
by trifling annoyances, and thus bring upon them 
vexations and expenses until they grant you the satis 
faction which you desire, and this contrary to the 
words of the Apostle, who said to the Corinthians : 
" There is plainly a fault among you, that you have 
lawsuits one with another " ? St. Bonaventure answers 
his own question thus : As to insults and annoy 
ances from which no other harm follows than what 
is felt at the time when they are received, as in 
the case of abusive words, loss of goods, blows, and 
such-like things, religious ought to endure them 
courageously ; but when more serious evils may result, 
such as injury to souls, it is not expedient to bear 
them. Cajetan is as explicit. He says in his Summa : 
To neglect one s own reputation when injured by 
calumny, is sin, when such negligence does harm to 
others, or it is feared that it may do so ; because a 
good reputation is necessary for us on account of 
others ; and concerning such a case St. Augustine 
says : He who, trusting to his own conscience, neglects 
his reputation, is cruel, because he ruins the souls of 
others. We mean to proceed thus, for the greater 
glory of God ; first, with all considerateness, and all 
possible charity, to send them a letter from a Cardinal 
who has some authority with them, and then to 
show them a letter from their General. If these 
first two means do not succeed, then, in order to 
perform what God, and what charity to our neigh 
bour bind us to do, and to counteract the efforts of 
the enemy of human nature, who has succeeded in 
misleading on this subject the mind of persons other 
wise enlightened, bound to religious life, and created 
for the greater glory of God, then, I say, we shall 
proceed to legal measures, and afterwards by a Brief 
from the Pope." 


1 6. The Society of Jesus, like other religious 
Orders, possesses through the paternal solicitude of the 
Sovereign Pontiffs, certain exemptions, certain powers 
well calculated to place its members in a position to 
.attain the special end of their Institute. No one could, 
-without unjust intrusion, hinder the exercise of faculties 
of this nature, nor dispute their value. Those who 
have received them are sometimes obliged to make 
good their claim to them, and to protest energetically 
when any attempt is made to deprive them of them ; 
in thus doing they protect, not precisely what is their 
own, but what appertains to the Apostolic See, what 
has been conceded to them by it in the plenitude of its 
supreme authority, expecting its rights to be respected 
in the person of the religious whom it invests with 
them. Nevertheless, occasions may arise on which it 
is well not to take advantage of such rights, however 
real they may be, and this, for the very purpose which 
the Sovereign Pontiffs intended in granting them. 
The Archbishop of Toledo, having taken offence at 
some of the privileges possessed by the rising Society, 
had forbidden the Fathers to exercise any of the 
functions of the ecclesiastical ministry. Ignatius 
endured this vexation for a long time with patience, 
but after having employed, in order to put an end to 
it, all the means compatible with his love of peace 
and the respect which he felt for the episcopal 
dignity, he applied to the Pope, asking him, if he 
thought good, to put an end to this injustice. The 
prelate was obliged to withdraw the severe measures 
which he had enacted, and to allow the Fathers lawful 
liberty of action. As to the extraordinary faculties 
which the Pope has placed at their disposal, the Saint 
desired them not to use them without the consent of 
the Ordinary. He wrote to them thus on the matter : 
" These privileges are very useful in procuring the good 


of souls when they are used with the approbation of 
the chief pastors. But, as in granting them to us, the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ sought only the good of souls, 
and as, by employing them contrary to the will of the 
bishops, good is hindered rather than advanced, it is 
preferable not to avail ourselves of them, if the prelates 
disapprove of our doing so, for we should then be work 
ing at a loss, and not reap the desired fruit." 

17. The Vicar General of the Bishop of Tivoli r 
being displeased because the nephew of that prelate 
had been admitted into the Society against his uncle s 
wishes, endeavoured to suspend Father Navarro, who 
was then preaching and catechizing in the principal 
church of the town, from exercising his ministry. He 
came therefore to the Father and asked him by what 
right and with what permission he announced the 
Word of God, and administered the sacraments to 
the people. For all answer, the Father, a little piqued, 
hastened to obtain from Rome letters properly drawn 
up, attesting that the Holy See had granted him the 
power, as was then the custom ; he presented these to 
the Vicar General, who did not push things further. 
Strictly speaking, the Father was in the right ; never 
theless he did not escape a reprimand from Ignatius,, 
who reproached him for having made good his privilege 
too warmly, and for not having showed sufficient defer 
ence towards the Vicar General. He took this oppor 
tunity of declaring it to be his express wish that, even 
when the interests of the Society were in question, his 
children should behave with moderation and humility 
towards the Ordinaries, instead of engaging in lawsuits 
with them, and alienating their good-will. In time, and 
by dint of patience, he succeeded in appeasing the 
Bishop, and won him over so completely that he 
became the benefactor and protector of the Society 


at Tivoli. The motives of St. Ignatius in so acting 
should not be mistaken. He was not guided by worldly 
views. He respected in prelates the dignity with which 
they are invested, and in addition, he was aware that 
their good-will would aid much in doing good. He 
explains this in his Constitutions, when he says : 
" Let us endeavour to obtain and to preserve the 
good- will of men in authority, whose favour or opposi 
tion has so much importance in opening or shutting 
the door of what we undertake for God s cause. If we 
have sometimes reason to fear that there are amongst 
them those who are ill-disposed towards us, we should 
pray for them, and act in such a way that we may be 
restored to their favour, or at least may refrain from 
making us feel that they are opposed to us. We should 
endeavour, for this purpose, not to escape contradictions 
or to shelter ourselves from persecutions which may be 
expected, but solely to conciliate their sympathy, for 
God s service, and that His glory may be increased." 

1 8. Ignatius, who did all in his power to avoid law 
suits with strangers, could much less endure that his 
children should have differences amongst themselves. 
Two Rectors, who were personally disinterested, main 
tained, each on his side, what they considered to be 
the rights of their respective Colleges, and they could 
not come to an agreement. Ignatius found a clever 
means of terminating the dispute by removing the 
pretext for it ; he changed the posts of the two 
Rectors, and sent each to govern the College of the 
other. In this way peace was completely restored. 

R. R. P. P. Jesuites, 

! "hi QfK 0. t f 

Garden River, Ontario. 


1. In composing his Spiritual Exercises, which are 
undoubtedly his principal work, since the Society itself 
arose from them, Ignatius intended above all to furnish 
those who apply themselves to them, with an infallible 
means of becoming masters of themselves, that is, of 
acquiring a strength which exceeds all others, which 
Scripture praises, and places far above the might of 
conquerors who carry cities by assault. The following 
is the title which he prefixes to them : " Spiritual 
Exercises to conquer oneself and regulate one s life,, 
and to avoid coming to a determination through any 
inordinate affection." 

2. The discourse of the Servant of God generally 
turned upon the obligation to conquer oneself. On 
every opportunity he spoke of the necessity of forming 
the interior man, of conquering our own will at the 
foot of the Cross, of repressing our natural affections, 
and rendering them subject to the slightest intimation 
of reason. Besides his exhortations to his children, in 
conversation, and in familiar intercourse which had 
always God for the subject or the end, these two 
words, " Conquer yourself," were continually on his 
lips. He repeated them so often, that his faithful 
follower, Francis Xavier, in his turn, and in the other 
hemisphere, said them frequently to his brethren ; and 


as he was asked why he recommended this so often, he 
replied: "Because it is the teaching which my good 
Father Ignatius gave me." 

3. In the midst of the difficulties of all kinds which 
he encountered at every step from the elements, from 
men, and from Hell, the Apostle of the Indies derived 
his intrepidity from these words which he had so often 
heard Ignatius repeat: "The children of the Society 
ought to endeavour to conquer themselves, casting 
away all fear which might prevent them from having 
perfect trust in God alone. They ought undoubtedly 
to use all means in their power to acquire this precious 
trust and confidence, but as it is a gift of God, Who 
bestows it as He wills, it can only be expected from 
Him, and He generally grants it to those who can 
conquer themselves." 

4. " We should endeavour to cause order to reign 
within us, and we ought to esteem more highly a victory 
gained over our own will, than the raising of a person 
from the dead." There was at Rome a Brother who 
was insatiable as to corporal austerities, but who had 
not the same zeal in conquering himself. His employ 
ment brought him frequently into familiar intercourse 
with Ignatius, and he admitted to him, that he ill- 
treated his body in vain, and that he could no more 
succeed in causing it suffering than if he struck a wall ; 
but that, on the other hand, he experienced great 
difficulty in conquering his own will and in submitting 
it to that of his Superiors. In order to aid this good 
Brother in managing himself, the Saint lost no oppor 
tunity of trying him and causing him to practise self- 
denial. The Brother had asked permission to fast on 
bread and water during the whole of Lent, without 
diminishing any of his work, which was very laborious. 
Ignatius, who sought to encourage in his children, 


within the limits of their vocation, the particular 
inclinations which they received from the Spirit of 
God, granted what he desired. However, after having 
allowed him to pass nearly the whole of Lent thus, 
when they were just going to sing the Alleluia of the 
Resurrection, on the evening of Good Friday, and 
the Brother, who had taken nothing all day, was 
already in bed, he made him get up, ordered some 
fish to be prepared, and told him to eat it. The Saint 
meant to teach him thereby that holiness consists less 
in maceration than in self-renunciation ; at the same 
time he wished to preserve him from the vain com 
placency which his fast might have inspired, and from 
the contempt which he might have conceived for those 
who had not pushed exterior mortification so far as he 
had. In this way, without taking from him the merit 
of his penance, he caused him to gain the yet more 
precious merit of a victory over his will, by giving 
up, for the sake of obedience, something otherwise 

5. To those of his children whom he perceived to 
be animated by an ardent desire to attain to a high 
degree of perfection, Ignatius recommended nothing 
so strongly as to strive to conquer self. One day one 
of them asked him to accompany him in a visit to the 
seven churches in order to gain the Indulgences. The 
Saint excused himself, and replied, smiling: "I have 
no need to go out in order to do that ; even in the 
house I can easily find means, if I wish, of gaining 
more than one Plenary Indulgence in a single day." 
This was not because the Saint did not set a great 
value upon Indulgence, Stations, and pilgrimages ; his 
profound respect for all which the Church approves is 
a sufficient guarantee for that. Besides, in his Rules 
of Orthodoxy, he expressly encourages the faithful to 


profit by the advantages attached to these and similar 
pious practices. Now, however, he seized the oppor 
tunity to remind the Father, of what he perhaps forgot, 
that the restraint which is necessary in order to per 
form one s office exactly, to keep one s rule faithfully, 
and to fulfil all one s duties, is a precious source of 
merits and of abundant satisfactions. 

6. " Effort upon effort must be made in order to 
replace a vicious habit by an opposite one ; in the 
same way as one nail is used to drive out another." 
The whole secret of the eminent holiness of Ignatius 
is contained in the application of this one maxim. 
Often, and even without our knowledge, the corrupt 
inclinations which we carry about with us excite us to 
offend God and lead us into evil. Under pain therefore 
of incurring guilt, we must always be on our guard 
concerning them, and must generally refuse what they 
demand. Nevertheless, in order that they may not 
succeed, under any circumstances, in making us act 
reprehensibly, we must not stop there. They never 
lay down their arms willingly, and even when they 
seem to be subdued, they are contriving some new- 
plot, and watching for a favourable moment to resume 
hostilities. It is not enough to confine ourselves to 
resisting them if they mutiny, nor to defend ourselves 
when they attack us openly, and to wait to combat and 
repress them for them to revolt ; we must act on the 
offensive, and wage a ceaseless warfare against them, 
never granting them truce, nor showing them mercy. 

Another motive, as essential as the preceding, urges 
us equally to act thus. Even if our perverse inclina 
tions were not a proximate cause for falls, and a 
permanent danger to our perseverance, as they always 
are, as long as they subsist, their presence within us 
would still produce disorder. Do not those bitter 


antipathies against what is prescribed, and which 
often becomes odious to us merely because it is com 
manded, and that instinctive attraction towards what 
is forbidden, which sometimes pleases us particularly 
because it is forbidden, do not these show clearly that 
it is the evil which dwells within us, according to the 
forcible expression of St. Paul ? Without doubt, at. 
first sight, such a state does not seem normal ; it 
accords little with the idea which we form to ourselves 
of the perfection which God s masterpiece should 
possess on leaving His hands ; in fact, this state did 
not then exist : it was produced by the disobedience of 
our first parents. But this state will not last always, 
and even now it is not without remedy. We cannot, 
it is true, expect to see it cease altogether here, our 
complete restoration being only to be accomplished in 
a better world ; yet during this present life we are 
allowed to begin this restoration, and are under the 
obligation to do so. That we may succeed in this, let 
us follow the wise advice suggested to us by Ignatius, 
let us pay no regard henceforth to our evil inclinations, 
with their sympathies and their repugnances, except to 
thwart them in all things, let us take from them 
unsparingly what pleases and suits them, let us impose 
upon them, and require from ourselves, in spite of their 
resistance, the maintenance and acceptance of what 
they reject. By treating them perseveringly in this 
way, we shall not only beat them in direct combat, and 
keep them in check, but we shall also at the same time 
form opposite inclinations within us. These, in their 
turn, profiting for their development by what they gain 
from those, will receive new vigour day by day, and 
will end by obtaining the preponderance over them. 
This is because a natural inclination is nothing else 
but a habit born with us, instead of a habit which has 
been acquired. But any habit, wherever it proceeds 


from, whether natural or acquired, is weakened and 
lost, when its exercise is hindered, and when it is 
reduced to inaction ; for the contrary reason, a habit 
which a person did not possess, is contracted and takes 
root by the frequent and energetic repetition of the acts 
proper to it. If, therefore, not satisfied with denying 
our bad inclinations what they desire, we constantly 
act in opposition to their tastes and antipathies, we 
shall little by little repair the ravages which sin has 
caused in us, we shall approach nearer and nearer to 
original rectitude, we shall almost completely re-estab 
lish primitive order, and we shall thus provide both for 
our safety and our dignity. 

The Servant of God had himself first heroically 
practised what he thus teaches. Immediately on his 
arrival at Manresa, in order to get rid of his inclina 
tion to vanity and to the love of earthly glory, not 
content with flying from honour and glory, he faced 
humiliations, and earnestly sought after whatever could 
make him contemptible, and bring upon him affronts. 
Not long before, in order to preserve his graceful 
carriage, and to cause the disappearance of a slight 
deformity, which was a consequence of his wound, he 
told the surgeons to break his leg, which had been 
badly set. A second time he had part of a bone sawn 
off, and caused his limbs to be stretched by means of 
an iron instrument. But now he purposely neglected his 
person, he took no care of his beard and hair, he 
allowed his nails to grow, he clothed himself in a sack ; 
girt about the loins with a common cord, he begged 
from door to door ; making himself a mendicant, he 
affected their manners and vulgar language, that the 
children when they met him might point at him and 
hoot after him. In like manner, several times at 
Manresa, in order to conquer the disgust which he 
felt in dressing the wounds of certain sick persons in 


the hospital, he applied his lips to their sores and 
sucked the matter from their ulcers. 

7. " Those who have by nature an untractable and 
violent character should not, on that account, lose all 
hope of acquiring virtue, nor think that it is beyond 
their strength, and that they must renounce the noble 
ambition of ever possessing it ; they ought, on the 
contrary, to arm themselves with a generous courage 
in order to triumph over themselves, being persuaded 
that one of their victories surpasses a number of more 
brilliant deeds performed by others who possess a calm 
and peaceful disposition. This way of advancing in 
virtue in order to arrive at God, resembles St. Peter 
walking upon the water : that Apostle, it is true, had 
a moment of weakness, and began to sink, but he 
nevertheless reached the Saviour more quickly and 
gloriously than his brethren who rejoined Jesus Christ 
by proceeding tranquilly towards Him in their boat. 
Moreover, these hard and rugged natures generally end 
by becoming capable of carrying out the noblest enter 
prises for the glory of God, when they are once 
conquered, and have been set to work and moulded 
by piety. Their inflexibility, when softened and placed 
at the disposal of virtue, is not satisfied with common 
things, and is never discouraged nor stopped by 
difficulties." Acting on this principle, the Saint 
endured more patiently the faults of those whom 
he perceived to be animated with an earnest desire 
to conquer themselves, than the less serious short 
comings of others who had less difficulty in restrain 
ing themselves. Two Fathers had committed the same 
fault and deserved to be turned out of the Society. 
Ignatius reprimanded them ; one of them became angry, 
whilst the other made no answer, and withdrew, con 
cealing his displeasure. The Servant of God, who was 


well acquainted with both, sent the latter back to the 
world, and forgave the other, who appeared to be more 

8. Two lay-brothers had quite opposite characters. 
One was peaceful, gentle, and imperturbable ; but this 
calm was much more a matter of temperament than 
the result of self-control. The other was violent, 
passionate, always ready to fire up and give way to 
words or gestures of impatience, but at every instant 
he did violence to himself, restraining himself, and 
checking the burning words on his lips. Ignatius 
valued the latter more highly than the former, and used 
to say to him when he met him : " Courage, brother, 
continue to combat yourself energetically, and you will 
gain twice the merit of certain men whose character 
causes them no difficulty." 

9. " Conquer yourself, Edmund, conquer yourself, 
and by so doing you will have a far more brilliant 
crown in Heaven than those who possess a calmer 
nature." Such was the recommendation which Ignatius 
took pleasure in giving to him who was to be one day 
the celebrated Father Edmund Auger. The latter, 
who had entered the Society when very young, was of 
an ardent and impetuous character. "One day, when I 
was present," Ribadeneira relates, "the Father Minister 
of the house came to inform Ignatius of another prank 
of Brother Edmund, and complained bitterly of his 
petulance, his frolicsomeness, and of the difficulty of 
keeping him in order. Ignatius, who weighed things, 
not in the deceitful balance of appearances, but in that 
of truth and prudence, answered the Minister : Gently, 
gently, Father. I am convinced that this young man 
whom you wish me to treat so severely, has made, in 
a few months, greater progress in the right way than 
such and such persons have done in a whole year/ 


naming two other Brothers of amiable temper, whom 
every one praised on account of their gentleness and 
pleasing manners." 

10. During his stay at Alcala, Ignatius had taken 
up his abode in a hospital which was considered to be 
haunted by ghosts and other evil apparitions. As 
there was no other place at liberty, he was lodged in 
a room which was particularly infested by this kind of 
apparitions, and which on that account was not usually 
inhabited. Ignatius was ignorant of this, but the first 
evening frightful spectres presented themselves to him 
and he was suddenly seized with mortal terror. How 
ever, soon reflecting that this was without doubt an 
artifice of Hell to intimidate him, he at once recovered 
calmness, fell on his knees, and, in a loud voice, defied 
the demons, saying to them : " If God has given you 
power to torment me, come, I am waiting for you ; I 
am ready ; whatever He may have allowed you to do, 
do. I make no opposition. I consent to it. But if 
you have no power over me, why pour forth your rage 
in vain efforts ? Cowards that you are ! Are you not 
ashamed of assembling in such numbers to disturb the 
rest of one man ? Do you expect to frighten me as if 
I were a child ? Do you expect to move me by placing 
before my eyes the spectacle of what you would 
willingly cause me to suffer, and which you are hindered 
from performing ? " He then commanded them to depart, 
and they appeared no more. 

ii. The following incident has already been men 
tioned, but we must refer to it again here, considering 
it from another point of view, that of strength. It had 
been determined to inflict upon Ignatius an outrageous 
affront, in order to make him expiate his zeal in con 
verting the young men with whom he was studying at 
Paris. He was sentenced to undergo a dishonourable 



flagellation before all the students of the College of 
Saint Barbara. His friends having heard of it warned 
him of the plot against him, and urged him to defeat 
it by absenting himself from the College on that day. 
Ignatius, joyful at having to suffer for so good a cause, 
would not follow this advice, and at once declared 
himself resolved not to avoid this punishment. But 
on leaving his lodging to go to Saint Barbara, dismayed 
nature revolted for a moment, a deep horror of the 
cruel humiliation which he was about to undergo took 
possession of him, his face became lividly pale, his 
whole body trembled, and he was violently tempted 
to return to his abode. Nevertheless, instantly, 
heroically conquering his repugnance, he apostro 
phized the inferior part of his being thus : " Wretched 
ass that thou art, lazy and contemptible animal, thou 
wilt not submit ! I will teach thee how to live ! I will 
force thee to proceed ! Thou mayest shake thy head 
and pull at the halter to break it, but in vain wilt thou 
kick against the pricks ; though shalt go willingly, or I 
will drag thee by force," and he set out with a firm step. 

12. In the following incident it is difficult to know 
what to admire most, the spirit of mortification of 
Ignatius, his heroic charity towards his enemies, or 
the energy which he used to conquer himself. When 
he was in Paris, one of his fellow-countrymen, wishing 
to return to Spain, robbed him of the alms which he 
had been to collect in Flanders and in England, that 
he might not be interrupted during the course of his 
studies by being obliged to beg his bread daily. The 
thief set out for Havre, expecting to embark there, 
but he was stopped at Rouen by serious illness ; there 
he soon became destitute, and wrote to Ignatius, begging 
him to forgive him and to assist him. Ignatius did not 
hesitate to answer this appeal, and, in order to draw 


down the blessing of Heaven upon his work of charity r 
he resolved to perform the journey barefoot and fasting, 
without allowing himself the relief of even a drop of 
water. Soon, however, alarmed at his project, he asked 
himself anxiously whether, to undertake such a journey 
under the conditions which he had decided upon, would 
not be to tempt God. In order to obtain light on this 
subject, he entered a church of St. Dominic, and prayed 
fervently, asking wisdom from Heaven as to his design. 
His perplexity soon departed, and nothing hindered 
him from setting out. However, on the morrow, when 
he wished to rise, he was penetrated by such intense 
fear that he could not stand, and had great difficulty 
in dressing himself. Yet he overcame all these obstacles, 
and quitted Paris before sunrise. He walked the first 
three leagues, as far as Argenteuil, so slowly and with 
such difficulty, that his feet seemed to be shod with 
lead. This bodily heaviness, the effect of temptation, 
accompanied him to the summit of a hill, which he 
climbed with much fatigue, doing violence to himself, 
but there he was wonderfully comforted by an abundance 
of Divine consolations, and in three days ho accom 
plished the journey with such celerity that he appeared 
to fly rather than to walk. He spent the first night in 
a hospital, sharing the bed of a beggar, and the second 
in the open air, on a little straw. Arrived at the end 
of his journey, towards the close of the third day, he 
sought out the poor Spaniard, revived his courage, 
lavished upon him the tenderest care, until he had 
completely recovered, and then gave him letters of 
recommendation to friends in his native country. 

13. Towards the close of his stay in Paris, Ignatius 
was one day with Doctor Fragus, when a monk came 
to advise the latter to leave his abode as soon as 
possible, and to take another, because several persons 


had lately died in the house, and there was every 
reason to believe that they had been carried off by 
the pestilence which was then ravaging the city. The 
doctor caused a woman to be fetched who was very 
skilful in discovering the existence of the plague, and 
she declared unhesitatingly that the house was infected 
with the pestilence. Ignatius then went courageously 
through all the rooms in search of invalids, and find 
ing in one of them a poor plague-stricken man, he 
encouraged and comforted him to the best of his 
power, not fearing to touch the ulcer which was 
devouring him, with his hand. He then left, and very 
soon felt severe pain in his hand ; he believed that he 
had caught the disease, and a deep fear, which he could 
not drive out, seized him. But suddenly, in a moment 
of indignation with himself, he plunged his fingers into 
his mouth, exclaiming: "If thou hast the plague in 
thy hand, thou shalt have it also in thy mouth." 
Instantly his imagination became calm, and the pain 
which he experienced departed. From that time fear 
took no hold over him on similar occasions. 

14. " Beware of all kinds of obstinacy, but when a 
good work is once undertaken, keep to it firmly, that 
no thought of escape may cause you to abandon it 
disgracefully." Before commencing anything important 
for God s service, Ignatius invoked God, consulted 
capable persons, and himself reflected maturely ; but 
when he had finally decided, nothing could turn him 
from what he had determined to execute, and difficulties 
and hindrances only roused him instead of discouraging 
him. His immoveable constancy was so well known, 
that Cardinal de Carpi used generally to say to those 
who entreated him to endeavour to make the Servant 
of God change his mind : " Nothing can be done ; the 
nail has been driven in, and it cannot be got out." The 


Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III., also said to persons of 
distinction and even to certain princes : " Do not attack 
Father Ignatius, if you do not wish to be constrained 
to yield, and to confess yourselves vanquished." One 
day, when the Saint was to leave Rome to go in the 
direction of Naples, the weather became so bad that, 
at the moment of setting out, his companion, Father 
Polanco, advised him, on account of the state of his 
health, to defer his journey. Ignatius replied: "For 
thirty years nothing of this nature has ever made me 
.give up or put off anything until the morrow," and 
he set out, not heeding the wind and the rain. He 
once waited fasting, fourteen hours continuously, at 
the door of a Cardinal, in order to converse with his 
Eminence about a work of charity. 

15. Amongst the means used by Ignatius to subdue 
his evil inclinations, there are two which he considered 
of the greatest importance and of which it is easy to 
recognize the wonderful efficacy : these were, a serious 
and frequent self-examination, and a penance in pro 
portion with his failings when he became aware of 

Besides never losing sight of himself, hour by hour, 
when the clock struck, he required from himself a strict 
.account of his actions, in order to discover if any 
thing defective had insinuated itself into them, and to 
remedy it at once. Those who aimed sincerely at con 
quering self, and who, notwithstanding, did not use this 
continual and energetic vigilance in the struggle against 
their inclinations, were to him incomprehensible persons. 
He once gave a Father to understand this, whom he 
met in the house, and whom he asked how often he 
had examined his conscience since morning. The 
latter, thinking no doubt that he had done a great deal, 
replied : " Seven times already." But Ignatius, who 


thought this very little, answered : " What ! only seven 
times ? " Yet the day was still far from ended. 

This general examen was not enough for him. He 
had also adopted another, which was known, no doubt, 
before his time, but which had hitherto been little 
practised, and which he applied specially to the fault 
which he considered that he had most to fear. In the 
morning, he armed himself with the firm resolution not 
to be overcome on such and such an occasion which he 
foresaw might arise ; each time that he caught himself 
failing in keeping his resolution, by way of disavowal, 
he looked up to heaven, or placed his hand on his 
Abreast, in such a manner that no one should perceive 
the gesture ; at mid-day, and in the evening, he 
endeavoured to recall to mind his different falls, and 
wrote the number in a small book which he kept care 
fully, comparing the result of each day with the 
previous one, and the result of each week with the 
preceding one, in order to ascertain whether he was 
making any progress ; he persevered in this way for 
months at a time, without growing weary, until he had 
succeeded in ridding himself of an inclination which 
.he had determined to extirpate from his soul. He con 
sidered this examen of such importance that, if some 
unusual occupation had prevented him from making it 
at the time assigned, he hastened to do so directly he 
was at liberty. While he was studying at Paris, he 
was obliged to give up some of his mortifications and 
practices of piety, in order to have time and strength 
for study ; but he retained three principal things which 
he observed faithfully, and one of them was to examine 
his conscience thus twice a day. 

During the time which he spent at Manresa, in the 
early days of his conversion, having noticed that he 
laughed too readily when he met any one, he desired 
.to free himself from this habit, which hindered his 


recollection. With the object of correcting himself, if 
he should happen to laugh in that manner, as soon as 
he remarked it, he made a knot in the cord which 
bound the sash which he wore, and in the evening he 
gave himself as many blows with an iron chain as there 
were knots in his cord. 

1 6. Of all the qualities with which Ignatius had 
adorned his soul, the one which, perhaps, deserves our 
admiration most, is the absolute command which he 
had acquired over himself. Thanks to his generous 
and persevering efforts, he had become completely 
master of his inclinations. We do not mean that he 
had ceased to possess passions, for he was a man, and 
every man has passions necessarily ; but we can affirm 
that he seemed no longer to have them, he appeared 
so free from the various impressions of trouble and 
agitation which the passions usually excite in others. 
He was like the waters suspended in the highest 
regions of heaven, over which the winds and tempests 
which sweep over the earth exercise no disturbing 
influence, because they participate in the serene tran 
quillity of the upper atmosphere in which they are 

Much more than this, instead of causing him trouble 
and hindrance, his passions had become his docile and 
respectful servants, devoted and valuable auxiliaries. 
They not only did not dare to stir without his order, 
nor to forestall his commands, but, waiting in peace 
until he made known his will, they were ever prepared 
to co-operate with him so as to enable him to act more 
energetically when needed. Those who enjoyed his 
closest intimacy testified that they had never discovered 
in him anything contrary to reason and not inspired by 

Lainez and des Freux, who were amongst his few 


intimate friends, went further still, and were not afraid 
to say that he had totally remoulded his nature, and 
that the inclinations which he possessed from his birth 
yielded to the requirements of grace, less by an active 
effort of his will, than by the instinctive spontaneity of 
an inclination which seemed to have always belonged 
-to him. 

His radical transformation of character, passing 
from the interior to the exterior, several times deceived 
the doctors concerning him; they, attributing to a 
phlegmatic nature, which he was far from possessing, 
the unalterable calmness, which was the result of his 
vigour and perseverance in combating the irascibility 
to which his constitution much inclined him. 

Nothing had the power to affect him sensibly. 
1 Foreseen or unforeseen, fortunate events caused him 
;;no more apparent emotion of joy than unfavourable 
events caused of sadness. Nothing seemed to discon- 
. cert, to astonish, nor to take him unprepared ; it might 
have been said that he was safe from any surprise, 
that he knew beforehand what would happen, that he 
expected it, and was prepared for it. The hours passed, 
leaving him always equable, always himself; he was 
; the same on leaving the table as he had been seen to 
be at the moment of coming from prayer, or of finishing 
the Holy Mysteries. If any one had to ask him any 
thing, or to converse w r ith him, it was unnecessary to 
watch for a favourable opportunity, or to choose one 
time rather than another. Whether he was well or ill, 
whether he was allowed to remain in peace, or was 
then the object of some persecution, whether he had 
just heard good news or bad, it mattered little ; no one 
need fear that these accidental circumstances would 
influence the reception which he would receive from 
i h im. A Father, ignorant doubtless that Ignatius was 
; always at the disposal of such as needed him, seeing 


him return one evening much fatigued after having 
waited a long time in vain for an audience with the 
Sovereign Pontiff, put off until the next day to go 
to make a communication to him. On the morrow, 
appearing before him, he excused himself for not 
having come the evening before on account of the 
exhausted state in which he thought him to be.. 
Ignatius did not relish this excuse, and seemed so 
little satisfied by it, that the Father, as he himself 
wrote, did not dare, for a whole week, to meet the eye 
of the Saint, still less to address him. 

Imperturbable like his soul, of which it was a 
faithful and living mirror, the countenance of the Saint 
always retained the same expression, and his children 
said of him that he had already the face of one of the 
blessed, meaning thus to depict the continual serenity 
which he never lost. Cardinal Quiroga, Archbishop of 
Toledo, who had intercourse with him in Rome, could 
never cease looking at him. Nevertheless, the Saint 
knew well how to cast a cloud over this serenity 
when he had to give a reprimand. He then assumed 
a wrathful air and appeared thoroughly angry, but his- 
apparent anger was full of dignity : as the sea, when 
most deeply stirred by the full force of the tempest, is 
not less grand nor less beautiful than when it is calm 
and tranquil, so, in these moments of deliberate indig 
nation, Ignatius retained an imposing majesty which 
caused men of power and merit to fall at his feet, silent 
and in tears, under the weight of his rebukes. 

Father Ribadeneira relates that he had often been 
present when Ignatius, in the course of quiet and 
agreeable conversation, had occasion to send for a 
Father to whom he was obliged to address a serious 
remonstrance for his correction. As soon as the guilty 
person appeared before him, the countenance of the 
Servant of God, hitherto calm as his soul, changed in a 


moment, so that he would not have been recognized as. 
the same person. From the severity of his expression,, 
and the vehemence of his language, he seemed to be 
thoroughly upset by anger. He was not really so,, 
however, and no sooner had the culprit departed, than 
he laid aside his indignant air, as he would have done a 
mask, which can be changed at will, retaining all the 
time the same personality. His features instantly 
regained their placidity, and he resumed the conver 
sation where he had left off, as if nothing extraordinary 
had occurred. Even when he was addressing those 
least deserving of indulgence, and his words were 
uttered with an energy which made the windows of 
the room shake, there was not a misplaced word, nor 
an exaggeration, nor a wounding dart, nothing which 
approached to insult. The power of his reproofs con 
sisted in bringing out the hatefulness of the fault which 
had been committed, the wrong which the delinquent 
had done to himself, the offence against God, and the 
scandal to his neighbour. 

17. Ignatius was inspecting the works at a building 
which he was having constructed at the country-house 
of St. Balbina. Suddenly, when at the top of a badly- 
placed ladder, his foot slipped, and he fell violently to 
the bottom. The Father who was with him thought 
that all was over, and that his head would neces 
sarily be broken against a wall which it must meet 
with in the fall. However, this was not the case r 
through the manifest protection of Heaven. Arrived 
at the bottom without the least hurt, the Saint got up,, 
and quietly continued his walk through the rooms,, 
without changing countenance, or feeling the slightest 
inward emotion, and without even turning round, as it 
is natural to do under such circumstances, to find out 
how the accident happened. 


1 8. In the year 1555, when there was great agitation 
in Rome on account of the troubles in a neighbouring 
country, malevolent persons had endeavoured to stir 
up suspicion in the mind of Pope Paul IV. against 
Ignatius as a Spaniard. The Pope did not believe the 
accusation ; but in order to satisfy public opinion, he 
sent the Governor of the city, with all his agents, to 
visit the house of Ignatius and to make sure that it did 
not contain a depot of arms. The Saint received the 
whole troop with a calm and gracious countenance. 
He told his secretary to conduct the Governor and his 
followers everywhere, from cellar to garret, and to give 
them the opportunity of seeing, examining, and scruti 
nizing everything. When the search was ended, no 
arms having been found, Ignatius accompanied the 
Governor to the door, with all politeness, as if it had 
been a visit of courtesy. 

19. A tumour having formed in the throat of 
Ignatius, it had become necessary to cover it with 
linen to exclude the air. In endeavouring to fix the 
bandage, which also covered his ears, the infirmarian, 
through carelessness, pierced the Saint s ear. The 
latter, without betraying by a word or a gesture the 
pain which he felt, contented himself with saying to the 
unskilful person : " Brother John Paul, see if you have 
not sewn the ear as well." 

20. One day when he was ill, the doctors advised 
Ignatius to put out of his mind all thoughts which 
might sadden him. This gave him occasion to examine, 
what, in this world, was capable of causing him trouble 
or disturbing in the slightest degree the tranquillity of 
his soul. He called to mind the various incidents 
which men dread most, and after having considered 
them attentively, he asked himself, if in them all, there 
was anything which could trouble him. He could find 


none, unless it were the destruction of the labour of his 
whole life, the Society which he had formed. He went 
further, and wished to know, if this were the case, how 
long his trouble would last, and this is the answer 
which he thought himself able to give : " If this mis 
fortune were to happen to me, provided it were not 
through my own fault, even if the Society were to 
disappear entirely and to melt away like salt in water, 
it seems to me that a quarter of an hour s recollection 
in God would suffice to console me, and to re-establish 
peace within me." 

This was not an idle saying, as appeared at the 
time of the elevation of Paul IV. to the Supreme 
Pontificate. Before he was seated in the chair of 
St. Peter, while still only a Cardinal, the ne\v Pope had 
founded the Order of Theatines, and had strongly urged 
Ignatius to join with him so as to unite the two families 
of religious in one Society. Ignatius had not consented 
to this, considering it to be God s will that the two 
Orders should remain distinct. Humanly speaking it 
was to be feared therefore that, in his new position, 
Paul IV. would resume his former project, and be 
unfavourable to Ignatius. He himself, when informed 
of the election of the Cardinal, seemed at first anxious. 
This was, however, the only time that a sensible change 
of countenance could be perceived. He recovered him 
self an instant after, went to prostrate himself before 
the tabernacle, and, after a short prayer, he returned 
to his children and said to them with his habitual 
calmness: "We shall have a Pontiff who is friendly to 
us, though the Society must be prepared for trials, that 
it may have the opportunity of practising patience." 



i. What I have just recommended in order to 
awaken the slumbering and quicken the indolent, 
should not cause you to fall into the opposite excess 
by an indiscreet zeal. St. Paul wishes ours to be a 
" reasonable service," and in this he agrees with the 
Prophet King, who says: "The Lord loveth judgment," 
and also with what the Levitical law commanded 
figuratively in the prescription : " Whatsoever sacrifice 
thou offerest, thou shalt season it with salt." This is 
an absolute duty ; for our enemy has no surer artifice 
for removing true charity from the hearts of God s 
servants, than by inducing them to be guided in spiritual 
matters, not by calm reflection and the rule of reason, 
but to act inconsiderately and according to the impe 
tuous movements of liberty. 

" Excess in nothing," said the Philosopher, and this- 
should be so faithfully observed that in Ecclesiastes it is 
said even concerning justice: " Be not over just." When 
we do not behave with this moderation, good is changed 
into evil and virtue into vice ; hence arise disorders 
completely contrary to the intention of those who rule 
themselves in this manner. First among these disorders 
is, that they are unable to labour long in God s service; 
they are like horses that, having made too long stages 
at first, give way in the midst of the course and cannot 
reach the end of the journey. Such men, instead of 



serving God, have themselves to be served by others. 
A second disorder is, that what is acquired with 
immoderate haste seldom lasts long, for, as Scripture 
teaches us : " The inheritance gotten hastily in the 
beginning, in the end shall be without a blessing." It 
will not only vanish, but be an occasion of falling, for 
he who walks with indiscreet fervour will stumble, and 
his fall will be the more dangerous because of the 
greater height. The third evil of indiscreet fervour is the 
overloading of one s vessel ; it should not be empty, for 
it would then be driven by the wind of temptations ; 
but it is still worse to load it so heavily that it sinks. 
The fourth evil is, that instead of crucifying the old 
man, the new man is weakened, for its strength is 
removed and it is rendered incapable of practising 
virtue. " By such excess," says St. Bernard, " the body 
is unjustly deprived of action, the soul of feeling, our 
neighbour of an example, and God of the honour which 
we owe Him." Hence, the Saint concludes, that the 
imprudent person who behaves thus commits a kind of 
sacrilege, by destroying the living temple of God, and 
that he becomes a stumbling-block to his neighbour. 
Indeed the fall of one shakes many, it hinders them in 
their spiritual course, and often ends in occasioning 
real scandals. The same Saint rightly calls such men 
who are carried away by indiscreet fervour, "destroyers 
of unity and enemies of peace." In addition, they 
are guilty of pride and vanity, preferring their own 
judgment to that of others, or at least usurping 
a right which is not theirs, by making themselves 
arbiters of their own conduct, whereas that is the 
business of their Superior, as reason demands. Besides 
these evils, there are others which result from this way 
of acting. Persons load themselves with arms to such 
an extent that they cannot move, and are also unable 
to use them, as was the case with David when embar- 


rassed with the armour of Saul. Such a person may 
well be said to resemble a rider who uses the spur 
instead of the rein to guide a fiery charger. Discretion 
is therefore necessary in the spiritual life ; it belongs to 
it to moderate the exercises of virtue, in such a manner 
that we may avoid opposite extremes. For, as St. 
Bernard well observes, we must not always trust to 
our good-will ; " it must be regulated and directed, 
above all in a beginner." Do not injure yourself, if you 
desire to do good to others ; for " whom can he benefit 
who is the enemy of his own welfare ? " 

2. To allow nature what is requisite is not to injure 
piety. The invalid should therefore without scruple omit 
some of the exercises of those in good health, and 
content himself with making compensation by his 
equability and patience, and not crush his body by 
fatigue when it is already exhausted by sickness. 

3. A grain of holiness with good health is more 
useful in labouring for the salvation of souls than great 
holiness with a grain of health. 

4. With good health you will be able to do much 
good to others ; if you fall ill, I do not know what 
service you will be able to render them. 

5. When Ignatius related anything or gave the 
reasons for his advice, his language was neither far 
fetched nor affected, but simple and natural. He did 
not stop to deduce all the consequences from a 
principle, he did not pass lightly from one subject to 
another, he did not enter upon several points at the 
same time, and he introduced nothing foreign to the 
subject. It was remarked of him that there was more 
matter in a few words of his than in the long discourses 
of others, and that on his lips there was more things 
than words. Where others heaped up phrases in the 
endeavour to say a great deal, he strove to be concise, 

A T:::>:PERA::CE. 157 

aiming rather at leaving out what was unnecessary 
than adding what might have been added. He was 
convinced that truth possesses in itself the power of 
obtaining recognition, and that its own force is enough 
to make good its rights. He therefore took care not 
to overload it with pompous clothing, which is an 
embarrassment much more than an ornament, when it 
has to contend with falsehood. Father Gonzalez 
observed that when the Servant of God recalled to his 
mind former events of which he had already spoken to 
him many years before, he related them in exactly the 
same terms, following the same order from point to 
point which he had done the first time ; the exact 
agreement and perfect identity of the two accounts, in 
the smallest details, clearly testified that he was repro 
ducing things faithfully as he had seen them himself,., 
and as they had really occurred. When he made a 
contract, he remembered that he would have to fulfil it 
at some future time, and he pledged himself no further 
than he was certain of being able to perform. Eleven 
years before his death, he happened to promise one of 
his friends something the execution of which seemed 
to him much more difficult than he had at first thought 
when he entered upon the obligation. He admitted to 
me then, Ribadeneira relates, that he did not remember 
that such a thing had happened to him for eleven or 
twelve years. If the actions of others, even such as 
had been made public, were spoken of in his presence, 
he was extremely reserved in expressing an opinion, he 
praised with prudence and moderation, and he never 
allowed himself to censure. In order to avoid exaggera 
tion he had formed the habit of using superlatives very 

6. " The inward man ought to be so well ordeted 
that the exterior is affected by it." Ignatius was a 


perfect model of religious propriety, and the witnesses 
summoned to give evidence on this point during the 
process for his canonization, have testified that it was 
impossible to notice in him, in his bearing, his manner, 
or his gestures, anything which was not perfectly con 
formable to what his profession required. In spite of 
all the surgeon s skill, and the dreadful torture to- 
which he had subjected himself for the purpose of 
removing all traces of the wound which he received at 
Pampeluna, one of his legs was still shorter than the 
other, but what worldly vanity could not do, the 
modesty of a religious had succeeded in performing. 
He had learnt to manage his movements so well, that 
when he walked his lameness was scarcely perceived. 
He wore his cloak in such a w r ay that his hands, and 
even the ends of his fingers \vere completely hidden, 
and only appeared when he had to take off his hat to 
salute some one by the way. He wished his children to 
be likewise distinguished in this respect. Occasionally, 
when they were going about the city, the Saint watched 
them for some time, and if he perceived in any of them 
precipitation, unconstraint, in short anything derogatory 
to the decorum which their state of life required, he 
warned him of it, and reprimanded him. One of the 
Fathers had gone out without taking care to fasten 
the straps of his shoes ; Ignatius sent him word to eat 
his dinner at the table of penance. Another of them 
was preparing to leave the house, and, having folded 
his mantle, had thrown it carelessly over his shoulder ; 
the Saint, who had perceived this, sent for him back 
and told him to return to his room, and spread out his 
mantle, and to put it on as usually worn before going 
out into the city. 

7. The advice and the example of Ignatius had so 
deeply inculcated upon his children the esteem and 


the practice of religious modesty, that wherever they 
appeared, they were at once recognized as members 
of the Society by their careful behaviour and composed 
movements. " He who has seen one of them has seen 
all," wrote a contemporary. As those who were deter 
mined to take in bad part whatever came from them, 
did not fail to attribute such an exterior to a refinement 
of hypocrisy, Ignatius, who was told what was said of 
his children, contented himself by answering : " Heaven 
grant that such hypocrisy may daily make further 
progress amongst us." Then, remarking amongst 
those present Salmeron and Bobadilla, he added by 
way of pleasantry, pointing out these two Fathers : 
41 For my part, in the whole of the Society, I only know 
of those two hypocrites," meaning that both of them 
had more virtue than they allowed to appear outwardly. 

8. " Let our modesty be always a sufficient invita 
tion, or rather a pressing exhortation to all to compose 
themselves at our appearance." The presence of 
Ignatius produced this marvellous effect. It commanded 
the respect of, and recalled to order those who had 
been tempted to wander from it. Many persons who 
were conscious of their guilt dared not appear before 
him. Others placed themselves in his way to see him 
when he went out ; it was seldom that any one did not 
feel himself to be better after having to do with him. 
Persons of virtue and merit, amongst others Polanco 
and Madrid, were attracted to the Society by the 
impression which his modest bearing produced upon 
them ; he had no need to speak in order to exercise this 
beneficial influence, it sufficed for him to be seen. 

9. " That it may be what it ought to be, that is, 
such as becomes a traveller and a servant of Jesus 
Christ, let your dress be always modest, adapted to 
the custom of the country in which you live, and in 


harmony with your state of life." In elderly persons 
Ignatius liked to see neatness, careful and dignified, 
simple and free from all affectation. He considered it 
the sign of a well-regulated interior adorned with 
virtue : on the other hand, a certain negligence as to 
their appearance did not displease him in young people, 
because it showed him that they attached small im 
portance to the advantages natural to their age. Not 
that he in any way encouraged disorder or untidiness, 
but he could not bear that any one should bestow upon 
his person the excessive care which is a sign of affecta 
tion and effeminacy. Having heard that a novice 
thought that his hands were never sufficiently clean, 
and that he sometimes used soap in washing them, 
which was not then the custom, he imposed a penance 
upon him, and watched him that he might discover 
whether, in so acting, he had merely followed a natural 
inclination to cleanliness, or whether he had not rather 
yielded to a vain and dangerous desire to attract atten 

10. Father James Crucius, a venerable nonagenarian, 
and Assistant for Italy, related that in his childhood his 
tutor used to take him to Ignatius on festivals, and the 
latter, after his Mass, gave him his hand to kiss, and 
said a few words of fatherly kindness to him. One 
day, however, he came dressed much more carefully 
than usual, his hair artistically combed, and wearing a 
collar of fine cloth edged with a purple border, upon 
which the Saint appeared not to recognize him, and 
went away asking what had become of his little James. 
The tutor and the child took the hint, and when they 
returned, the child was dressed in a more modest 
costume; Ignatius then smiled sweetly upon him, and, 
at his request, presented his hand to be kissed as 


ii. The furniture for Ignatius own use resembled 
in everything what the Sunamitess placed in the room 
of Eliseus; it consisted of a bed, a table, a wooden 
stool, and a candlestick. His library was composed 
of a Bible, a Missal, and the Imitation of Jesus Christ.. 
The cassock which he usually wore was old, but 
scrupulously clean. 



1. Consider your vocation, and you will understand 
that what would be to others an ordinary thing and of 
small importance, would not be so to you ; for, God 
has not only called you to His marvellous light, by 
transplanting you into the Kingdom of His Son, like 
all other believers ; but He has mercifully withdrawn 
you from the stormy sea of the world, and has placed 
you in safety from the tempests which arise in it 
through the desire for riches, honours, and pleasures,, 
and through the fear of losing them, if once they have 
been obtained. If He has favoured you in this manner, 
it is that you may preserve the purity of your heart 
more surely, and that your love for His holy service 
may be firmer and stronger ; it is also that your mind 
may not be occupied nor fixed upon things so base as 
those of time ; that your love may not be divided 
amongst many objects, but be concentrated on one 
only, and that thus it may be given you to labour, with 
all the power of that love, to attain the end for which 
you were created, namely, the glory and honour of God, 
your own salvation, and that of others. 

2. If you consider the reward of everlasting life, as 
we ought all to do, you will be firmly persuaded as- 


St. Paul was, " that the sufferings of this time are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory to come that 
shall be revealed in us," "for that which is at present 
momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us 
above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." 
If this is true of every Christian who serves and honours 
God, you can imagine how glorious will be your crown, 
if you correspond to your Institute, which not only lays 
upon you the obligation to serve God for your own 
sake, but also that of labouring for the salvation of 
others for the honour and service of God. Listen to 
what Scripture says to you : " They that are learned 
shall shine as the brightness of the firmament ; and 
they that instruct many to justice, as stars for all 
eternity." Words which those who labour earnestly 
to fulfil the duties of their office should apply to them 
selves, endeavouring first to arm themselves with the 
weapons of salvation, that they may afterwards wield 
them unceasingly unto their life s end. 

3. If all is given, over and above, to those who seek 
first the Kingdom of God and His justice, as He has 
deigned to promise, can anything be wanting to those 
who seek and desire only the justice of His Kingdom, 
and the King of kings Himself, to those who only wish 
for the dew from Heaven without caring for the fatness 
of the earth, and whose eyes, closed to the things of 
earth, remain firmly fixed on those of Heaven ? 

4. To see a religious sad, who no longer seeks for 
anything but God, would be no less a miracle than to 
see a person joyful who seeks everything except God. 

5. Francis Coster, when very young, and still a 
novice, was much given to laughter, as is common with 
novices. Ignatius once caught him in one of his fits 
of mirth, and calling him said to him : " Francis, 
I am told that you are always laughing." At these 


words the novice modestly looked down, expecting a 
severe lecture, but the Saint added: "Laugh and be 
joyful in the Lord, I command you to be so. A 
religious has no cause to be sorrowful, but many to be 
joyful, and this will be your case most certainly if you 
are humble and obedient. I speak to you thus, because 
I think that I recognize in you more than ordinary 
capacity, and qualities which may render you fit for 
the management of important matters. If, notwith 
standing, they should not happen to be entrusted to 
you, and you are not humble, you will feel regret, and 
you will be troubled. I observe that the way of living 
in Rome, and the climate, do not suit you, and perhaps 
you hope to be sent to Belgium ; I, on the contrary, 
am thinking of sending you to Sicily. Now, if you set 
your heart beforehand upon any particular place, or 
office, it will often happen that obedience will dispose 
of you quite differently, whence will necessarily arise 
in you sadness and trouble. In order to be always 
joyful and cheerful, be always humble, always obe 

6. " When a bad man who is secretly vicious, lives 
amongst persons who delight in holiness, he cannot 
remain with them long, either on account of the violence 
which he is obliged to do himself in order to appear 
to be what he is not, or because God will not allow 
him to sully the company of His faithful followers by 
his presence." There was at Rome a Brother whose 
conduct gave occasion for grave suspicion. Father 
Manare spoke to Ignatius about it, and asked him 
whether it would not be advisable to forbid this Brother 
to receive Communion, in order to avoid sacrilegious 
abuse of it. " No," replied Ignatius, "we will not go so 
far as that, let us leave all to God, and perhaps He will 
use this means to show us the real state of the case." 


It was so. The Adorable Eucharist was to this wretch 
what It had been to Judas, the hypocrite was speedily 
unmasked and dismissed. Despairing of holding their 
own openly against the children of Ignatius, who were 
every day taking from them some of their unrighteous 
conquests over truth, the sectaries of Germany had 
determined, according to the advice of Melancthon, to 
alter their tactics, and to change into auxiliaries those 
whom they could not conquer as enemies. With this 
object, they attempted to obtain a footing within the 
Society itself, and, in 1551, they sent to Rome one of 
their emissaries, a very crafty young man, who solicited 
admission into the family of the Servant of God. He 
was examined, according to custom, he went through 
the trial to which he was subjected successfully, and 
was received into the Novitiate. To all appearance, 
he was most regular, he made his confession several 
times a week, he frequently approached the Holy 
Table, he chastised his body severely, he was diligent 
in devotional exercises, he was most obedient to the 
slightest order of the Superiors, and what is still more 
strange, he showed neither self-love nor pride, in short 
he omitted nothing which was calculated to conceal 
his perfidious design, and to win the esteem of his 
brethren. When he thought himself well enough 
established, he began to spread his poison, which he 
did in a cunning way. He had been given the care 
of the refectory with another novice as his companion. 
The latter was Oliver Manare, who was very learned, 
and had just finished his course of theology at the 
schools in Paris. The sectary knew the importance 
of gaining to his side a person of such merit and, 
having occasion to speak with him alone, he en 
deavoured to corrupt him little by little. There were 
several pictures of saints hanging on the walls of the 
refectory, and while talking, he asked Manare one 


day what was the use of these representations, and 
whether it was not wrong to honour them. Manare 
gave the answer which a Catholic ought to do who 
knows his religion, and the other appeared to be con 
vinced by the explanation furnished. Nevertheless, 
he returned to the subject the following days and, 
having put forward in succession a whole series of 
heterodox propositions concerning the authority of the 
Sovereign Pontiff, faith, good works, and other subjects 
then much discussed, he attempted to batter down the 
teaching of the Church. Manare, surprised and scarcely 
able to believe what he perceived, seemed to listen 
to him, contenting himself with opposing him occa 
sionally, so as to allow him to go on speaking, and 
to see what was in the depths of his soul. The 
wretched man, believing himself already master of the 
situation, was emboldened to write down some of his 
impious views, in order that Manare might examine 
them at his leisure. Manare went immediately to 
relate everything to Ignatius, whose advice he had 
taken care to obtain. The heretic was stripped of the 
habit of the Society, and dismissed at once. The Grand 
Inquisitor, who heard of the affair, had him arrested, 
obliged him to confess his guilt, and condemned him 
to the galleys for life. 

7. The more a soul remains in solitude, and detaches 
itself from all else, the better fitted it is to seek and to 
find its Creator. 

8. It is not enough to profess a high kind of life, if 
we do not fulfil perfectly what that state requires. 
Indeed, the Prophet Jeremias says: "Cursed be he 
that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully;" and 
St. Paul tells us " that they that run in the race all run 
indeed, but one receiveth the prize ; " and he also says, 


u For he also that striveth for the mastery, is not 
crowned except he strive lawfully," that is, unless he 
has faithfully fulfilled the duties of his state of life. 

g. Let him alone flatter himself that he fulfils his 
obligations as a religious, who, not satisfied with being 
free from the things of the world, is also free as regards 

10. To imagine, that in what follows under the 
following numbers, Ignatius wishes to tear out of the 
heart of his children the legitimate affection and devo 
tion which every man owes to his relations and country,, 
would be to interpret his meaning very wrongly ; it 
goes no further than to remove whatever there may be 
which is excessive, exclusive, and consequently unjust, 
in our feelings towards our family and our country. 
In harmony with Scripture, and with all the doctors 
who have treated of religious life, and even merely 
of a Christian life, the Servant of God aimed at recalling 
us to order, by combating the love of flesh and blood, 
and the narrow nationalism which, under the seductive 
pretext of patriotism, would have the effect of imprison 
ing us in a small circle beyond which we should see 
nothing. He does not wish us to remain indifferent 
to whatever does not bear our own name, to whoever 
does not speak our language, or has not been born in 
the same land as ourselves. This is the aim and 
meaning of his recommendations. To him, all men 
are his brethren, therefore he strives to enlarge the 
heart of his children, in order to find room there for 
the different members of the large human family, all 
sons of the same Father, according to nature and grace, 
all redeemed by the Blood of the same Saviour, Jesus 
Christ, all called to the participation in the same 
inheritance, Heaven. His energetic persistence, and 


tenacity upon this point may disconcert us, yet they 
are necessary and not at all too strong, considering 
the opposite tendencies which original sin has im 
planted in us. Still, after having thus provided for 
the observance of the rights of true charity, far 
from disapproving of the preservation in us of some 
thing special in favour of those to whom Providence 
has bound us by particlar ties, he encourages us in 
this by his own example. In 1540 he wrote from 
Rome to his countrymen as follows: "Ignatius de 
Loyola, to the inhabitants of Azpcitia, his fellow- 
citizens, the grace and charity of Jesus Christ ! Our 
great God, Whose wisdom is infinite, knows how often 
and how ardently, for His sake, I have had the desire 
and formed the resolution of always showing myself 
agreeable to my neighbour in the smallest things which 
depended upon myself, and of obtaining for my brethren 
all the spiritual help which might be in my power. 
But I feel this more intensely towards those amongst 
whom I was born by the special blessing of God, which 
I can never sufficiently acknowledge. In accordance 
with this wish, which was inspired by God, and not for 
worldly ends, I did not refuse, five years ago, in spite 
of the weakness of my health, to leave Paris and go to- 
your town. You know what resulted from this visit 
for your common good, and how, having regained a 
little strength, thanks to the grace and habitual 
clemency of God, Who had brought me amongst you, 
I was able to be of some use to your souls. If the 
spiritual good which I did to you at that time, was not 
so great as it ought to have been, the fault should be 
attributed to me. But, as to the desire which I then 
had, I have it yet, and by it I am urged to labour with 
all my might to obtain perfect tranquillity for your 
souls in this present life, and to fill them with joy and 
real peace." 


11. The duty of a good religious is to rouse men to 
make progress in the service of God and not in that 
of earthly princes, that he may thus prove that he had 
done well in choosing such a Master. 

12. He who, from love to Jesus Christ, professes 
to despise the world, ought no longer to find in this 
world any one place which he considers his fatherland. 

13. When a man has renounced the world, he must 
tear from his heart all particular attachment to his 
native country, and charity should seek out especially 
those of other nations. In like manner the streams 
which descend from the mountains flow sometimes 
through a plain, and at others through a valley, 
apparently forgetful of the source from which they rose, 
that they may hasten to meet other torrents with 
which, upon reaching them, they become mixed and 

14. I will not make excuses for having omitted to 
write to you hitherto. There is a very valid excuse 
which speaks for itself. It is this, that those who have 
renounced the world in order to follow Jesus Christ 
more perfectly, should also give up and forget all 
worldly things, that they may meditate more diligently 
upon heavenly things and long for them more ardently. 
Therefore they have done with these acts of courtesy 
that they may be more entirely devoted to the interests 
of God. If an opportunity had occurred of serving 
you, for God s glory, I should have embraced it with 
the greatest eagerness, and I should have shown you, 
in so far as my weakness allows, how closely I am 
united to you and all your family, and how highly 
I value the signal benefits of your forefathers. The 
only thing which remained to me to do, was to 
commend you to God, and that I have faithfully done 
hitherto and will continue to do for the future. I will 


ask God to give to you and to all dear to you the 
greatest happiness, and to direct you by a special 
protection of His grace for the greater glory of His 
Holy Name. 

15. As to the marriage of which you speak in your 
letter, it is an affair of such a nature and so foreign to 
my humble profession, that I have resolved not to mix 
myself up with it, as being entirely contrary and in 
direct opposition to the Institute which I have embraced. 
I can truthfully affirm that for ten or eleven years 
I have not written one letter to any member of the 
family of Loyola. For I was convinced when I com 
pletely renounced the world, that for the love of Jesus 
Christ, I was also giving up that family for ever, and 
that I was never to behold again, nor in any way regard 
as my own, a family which I quitted after so firm and 
deliberate a resolution. 

1 6. One winter day, while Ignatius was engaged 
in prayer, the Brother porter thought to give him 
pleasure by taking to him at once in his room some 
letters which had just come from Loyola. But the 
Saint, wishing the Brother to understand that when 
a person is once enrolled in the heavenly army, he must 
no longer occupy himself with the affairs of earth, took 
the packet and threw it into the fire without opening it. 

17. It is not the business of a religious to encourage 
persons to seek advancement at Court, but that he 
should rather withdraw them from it to attach them 
to Jesus Christ. Ignatius answered those who sought 
his good offices in order to obtain the favour of princes 
and gain access to their palaces, thus: "My brother, 
I can only concern myself with introducing you into 
the court of the King of kings. If you are acquainted 
with any more brilliant than His, I beg of you to inform 
me of it, and to obtain an entrance for me. But, if 


you do not know of any, and if you also desire to enter 
the service of the Lord, I am prepared to do all in 
my power, by my prayers and my endeavours, to aid 
you to obtain His favour." 

1 8. It is not by busying themselves with worldly 
matters, nor by diligently courting the great, that evan 
gelical labourers will succeed in gaining the good-will 
and authority which are necessary to work profitably 
for the service of souls, but by applying themselves 
perseveringly to the labours of their ministry, by leading 
an irreproachable life, by proclaiming apostolically the 
Word of God, by constantly visiting the hospitals and 
prisons, and by performing other similar works of 
charity and humility. The more religious ought to 
shun the Court of princes, so much the more they 
should endeavour that from their life and actions may 
exhale a sweet odour of edification which may perfume 
palaces. They will thus, to the glory of God, conciliate 
for their order the favour of men. 

19. In a well-conducted Religious Order care should 
be taken for the old to live like young persons, and the 
young like old persons, so that the former may show 
the activity of youth, and the latter the maturity of 
such as are already advanced in age. 

20. " There are three sure signs by which a well- 
regulated house may be known : they are enclosure, 
cleanliness, and the rule of silence exactly kept." 
Ignatius recommended these three points to all, but 
especially to Superiors, and he himself watched over 
their observance. He visited the rooms frequently, to 
see that they had been swept, that the beds had been 
properly made, that the books were neatly arranged on 
the table, and that the smallest articles such as the 
candlestick, shoes, and broom were in their proper 
place. Except at recreation after meals he would not 


suffer conversation. If any one had occasion to say a 
few words to another, and raised his voice too loud, 
or made a noise in walking, ascending or descending 
the stairs, the Saint used to open the door of his cell, 
summoned the offender, and recalled him to order. 
"We had often to do penance," relates Father Oliver 
Manare, who has transmitted to us these interesting 
details, "because we had not spoken quietly enough, 
or had walked too quickly along the corridors, or 
because we had broken silence in opening or shutting 
the doors. As to enclosure, except in case of neces 
sity, Ignatius did not wish the doors of the rooms to 
remain open for an instant, nor the keys to remain in 
the locks." 

21. A community ought to be kept healthy, and the 
soundness of the whole body must be maintained by 
promptly cutting off gangrened members before they 
have had time to infect with their corruption those 
yet healthy. 

22. Ignatius considered it essential to the religious 
prosperity of his Society to possess always the right 
of dismissing those whose conversation would have 
been prejudicial to their brethren. Also, when strangers 
asked leave to visit the house, after having shown 
them over it, he stopped them on the threshold and 
said pleasantly : " This is the prison, thanks to it we 
can dispense with any other, and with retaining 

23. Ignatius did not lightly throw back upon the 
world those whom he had admitted into his religious 
family, on the contrary, he used every effort to retain 
them in it, striving to make them such as their vocation 
required. He spared nothing in order to obtain this 
result, which he had so much at heart, as many 


instances show. However, when, after having ex 
hausted all the means in his power, he became 
convinced that persons were incorrigible, and that their 
irregularity would induce relaxation in others, he did 
not hesitate a moment in freeing his Society from them. 
More than once, under such circumstances, attempts 
were made to persuade the Saint to give way con 
cerning them. He pointed out to those who interceded 
for these unfortunate persons, that theirs was not true 
charity, but a want of prudence, and he used to say 
to them : "If when he presented himself to enter 
amongst us, he for whose sake you bestir yourself so 
much had revealed himself to be such as you now know 
him to be, would you have received him ? Therefore 
let him depart now. The first admission was only 
established in order to try those thus admitted, and 
to be able to send them away afterwards if the trial 
shows that they ought not to be kept. I leave the 
receptions to you, leave the expulsions to me." Once 
at Pentecost Ignatius sent back to their own families 
twelve students of the Roman College, and in order to 
show that the Society derives no less advantage from 
the dismissal of those unsuited to it than from the 
continuance in it of its best subjects, he seemed that 
day to be more joyful than usual. Father Leonard 
Kessel, Rector at Cologne, once sent away eight 
of the fifteen religious of which his house consisted. 
Soon after, being uneasy as to the expediency of the 
severe measure which he had taken, he wrote to 
Father Ignatius, stating the motives for his conduct 
and begging him to forgive him his fault if he had 
exceeded his intentions. Instead of pardoning him, 
the Servant of God praised him, and added these 
words : " If the seven religious whom you have retained 
show the same obstinacy as the others, I charge you 
to dismiss them also from the Society." 


24. Ignatius had been obliged to exclude from the 
Society the brother of Lainez, who was so dear to him. 
Father Ribadeneira entreated the Saint to bestow a 
little money upon him whom he was thus cutting off 
from the number of his children, because the unfortunate 
man had neither the means to subsist in Rome nor to 
return to his native country, Spain. Ignatius replied 
thus : " My dear Peter, if all the gold of Peru were at 
my disposal I would not assist with one farthing those 
who, through their own fault, have rendered themselves 
unworthy of remaining with us. Whether they leave 
religion of their own accord, or cause themselves to be 
dismissed from it, they have no right to expect from it 
indemnification for w r orks performed by them while 
they belonged to it ; as if they had not given them to 
the Lord gratuitously, but had only lent them to the 
Society, and, after having got the interest, by receiving 
each day what was necessary, could claim from it in 
addition as a debt due, the repayment of the capital." 

25. In the rules given by the Founders of Religious 
Orders to their disciples, whatever is immediately con 
nected with the special object of the Order has been 
inspired by God. Ignatius was firmly convinced of 
this truth, which he did not perhaps formulate with 
precision, but which he caused clearly to be understood 
on many occasions. 

As regards himself, he often states, in his Constitu 
tions, that what he prescribes does not proceed from 
himself but from God, and that he only, as it were, 
wrote from His dictation. He was still more explicit 
in what he confided to Father Gonzalez. Often when 
conversing alone with that Father, who possessed his 
entire confidence, and whom he had occasion to see 
every day, he spoke to him openly of the Society and 
of the end for which it had been instituted, relating to 


him its beginnings, its trials, and its increase, and 
telling him what he wished and what he feared for it, 
and also the means placed at its disposal for fulfilling 
its special mission. He particularly called his attention 
to certain peculiarities belonging exclusively to his 
Institute, such as the absence of a particular dress to 
distinguish them from simple clerks, exemption from 
chanting the office in choir, the erection of colleges 
and houses for scholastics apart from the other houses 
and Novitiates, the trials which he makes the novices 
undergo, who are sent on pilgrimage without provisions, 
and who are to live upon alms which they beg by the 
way, in short, many similar things which differed from 
what had hitherto been the custom among the various 
families of religious. He then explained to him in 
detail the weighty and numerous considerations which 
had determined him to act as he had done ; lastly, 
after having given him the motives which were humanly 
speaking the most plausible, for all these innovations, 
he ended by saying, as the highest reason to which 
nothing could be objected : " It was shown to me thus 
at Manresa." 

The Servant of God did not claim the privilege of 
a supernatural origin for the essential Rules of his 
Society alone, he judged that the same favour had 
been granted equally to other Religious Orders. The 
following is the way that he was led to explain himself 
concerning this. Whilst he was engaged in drawing 
up his Constitutions, the thought occurred to him one 
day of introducing into them an arrangement which, 
without belonging to the substance of his Institute, 
nevertheless seemed to him very useful to adopt. 
Before making up his mind to do so he remained for 
some time undecided, asking himself whether he was 
permitted to mingle his conceptions with those of God, 
arid to establish as a law, and take from himself, a 


measure which Heaven had not seen fit to point out 
to him as it had done the others. After having reflected 
deliberately before our Lord to solve his doubt, light 
was shed into his mind, and he understood that in 
communicating to him certain articles, God had not 
tied his hands as to the rest, and that in this and 
similar cases, he was free to act as reason dictated. 
He did not rest there, but wished to have the opinion 
of Father Lainez, who he knew had read much of the 
Lives of the Saints, and was well informed as to all 
that concerns the commencement and development of 
different Institutes ; he therefore said to him : " Do 
you believe, Master Lainez, that God has revealed to 
the Founders of Orders all the prescriptions given by 
them to their families of religious, or rather that some 
of these prescriptions have been added by the Founders, 
who considered them useful for the end at which they 
aimed?" * I consider it more conformable to faith," 
answered Lainez, "to think that God, being the chief 
Author and first Father of all Religious Orders, has not 
failed to reveal to their Founders the important and 
substantial points of their particular Institute. The 
establishment of a Religious Order is in reality, not the 
work of a man, but the work of God, Who wills that 
each Order should serve and honour Him in a special 
way ; it belongs therefore to His Providence to point 
out beforehand the manner in which He means to be 
served and honoured, for this is a secret which the 
Founder could neither know nor discover by his own 
efforts, and consequently God only can teach it to him. 
As to points which are secondary and accessory, which 
do not affect the real essence of such Institutes, and 
which are capable of modification, according to cir 
cumstances of time and place, God has left to the 
prudence and judgment of the Founders the care of 
-settling them, with a certain liberty. He has acted 


thus with regard to the Church ; whatever was abso 
lutely indispensable to its existence, our Lord taught 
expressly at first to the Apostles, but as to the rest, He 
avoided entering unnecessarily into details, and refrained 
from personally instituting many things of minor import 
ance the organization of which He entrusted to the zeal 
and wisdom of His ministers." " I am completely of 
your opinion," replied Ignatius, who, no doubt, judged 
of other Founders by what he had himself experienced.. 

26. Apostolical men ought to be firmly persuaded 
that the success of their ministry is inseparably bound 
up with the exact fulfilment of all their Rules. This 
was a sacred principle in the eyes of Ignatius, and he 
always acted upon it when he had to reply to the 
requests which he received from all parts to obtain a 
house of the Society. When princes and cities vied 
with each other in addressing him, entreating him 
to found a house, placing buildings at his disposal for 
this purpose, and pledging themselves to supply the 
necessary sums for the support of his children, he was 
in no hurry to grant their requests ; without allowing 
himself to be dazzled by the seductive appearance of 
such offers, he desired, first of all, to make sure that 
his children would possess facilities for living as true 
religious in the place to which they were summoned. 
If he foresaw that by reason of certain circumstances, 
regular discipline would suffer, he refused for the present 
the propositions made to him, deferring their execution 
to a more favourable time. As he was aware that in 
communities consisting of only a few members, the 
complete observance of the Rule meets with insur 
mountable obstacles, he would not allow himself to 
accept houses of that kind, and he even approved of 
the action of Father Bustamente, who had profited by 
a favourable opportunity to rid the Society of a small 


College which must have continued as such, and which 
had been imposed upon him without his being able to 
refuse it. He would not further the foundation of 
establishments unless he felt himself to be in a position 
to provide them with a sufficient staff, and he opposed 
the opening of new houses to which he could only send 
his children by removing them from those already in 
existence, and which needed their services. He did not 
allow religious who had been recently admitted into 
the Society to be prematurely employed in the Colleges, 
not thinking them yet sufficiently penetrated with the 
spirit of their vocation, nor formed to the habits which 
it requires. To act otherwise, was in his opinion, to 
open a door for relaxation, to compromise the honour 
of the Society, and to deprive the people of the benefits 
which they had expected from our presence, as the 
public good cannot be promoted by men who are not 
fulfilling the duties of their state of life. 

27. " To employ the members of a Religious Order 
in the service of God, but to the detriment of their Rule, 
is to cut down the tree in order to gather the fruit." 
Therefore Ignatius would not allow the Duke of Ferrara, 
a true friend and great protector of the Society, to have 
one of the Fathers whom he had asked for as tutor to 
his son, for being obliged to remain at Court, he would 
have been prevented from living with his brethren. For 
the same reason he forbade those whom he had placed 
at the head of Colleges, to enter the service of Bishops, 
whenever the distance from the Colleges required 
absence injurious to domestic discipline. This was 
again his motive in refusing the office of Inquisitor 
which was offered to his children in Portugal, as he 
feared that if he allowed them to accept it, they would 
be withdrawn from obedience, and their functions would 
render them independent of their Superiors. 


28. The greatest kindness and most signal favour 
which you can do us is to help us to walk truly and 
faithfully in the path of our Institute. In our opinion, 
honours are so diametrically opposed to it, that if 
means were needed to destroy it completely, we declare, 
with the deepest conviction, that the most effectual 
would be to oblige us to accept ecclesiastical dignities. 
Those who first entered this Society purposed to go, 
for the cause of religion, and at the slightest sign from 
the Sovereign Pontiff, to all the countries in the world ; 
so that the original and true spirit of this Institute is 
to go, in all humility and simplicity, for the glory of 
God and the salvation of souls, from city to city and 
from province to province, without settling in any 
particular country. Not only has the Holy See approved 
this kind of life, but it has been manifestly blessed by 
Heaven. God has shown that it is pleasing to Him 
by making the labours of the members of the Society 
fruitful, in His mercy, and by using them to re-awaken 
piety in a large number of souls. Hence, the preserva 
tion of their primitive spirit is in a manner the soul of 
religious societies. If we are able to keep it, there is no 
doubt that our Society will maintain its position ; but 
if we abandon it, the Society will most certainly be 

29. On the occasion just mentioned, Ignatius was 
not satisfied with writing to the King of the Romans. 
He obtained an audience from the Sovereign Pontiff 
and laid before him with respectful freedom the reasons 
why he dreaded the honours which it was wished 
to confer upon his children. Amongst other things, 
he spoke to him as follows : " Far be it from me, Holy 
Father, to condemn ecclesiastical dignities or the 
religious who are raised to them for the welfare of 
Christianity, and who possess them to the edification 


of the faithful, but there is a great difference between 
the Society and the other Religious Orders. The latter 
have, by their age, acquired strength to support the 
heaviest burdens, the former has only lately sprung 
up, and is yet weak. It is now only composed of two 
hundred persons, and it would speedily be weakened 
and scattered if those of special worth were withdrawn 
from it. Besides, I regard the other Religious Orders 
in the army of the Church Militant, as squadrons of 
regulars, who remain at the post assigned to them, 
who keep their ranks, who show front to the enemy, 
retaining always the same order and the same way of 
fighting. But, as for us, we are as the light horse, 
which should be ever ready on occasions of alarm and 
surprise, which attack, or give support, as various 
conjunctions arise, which go everywhere, and skirmish 
in all sides." 

30. " To bring sure ruin upon a Religious Order, 
it needs only to allow an entrance to the spirit of 
innovation on any point whatever. Such a change 
may please you, other changes will be much more 
pleasing to others, and will seem to them to be abso 
lutely necessary. In this way will be broken, ring 
after ring, the chain which only continues as such by 
;the mutual dependence of the links, since it is only 
formed by their union and continuity." Ignatius 
was certainly not the advocate of routine, or the 
systematic enemy of progress, but he was prudently 
on his guard against the eagerness, so natural to certain 
minds, to introduce novelties on every opportunity 
under the pretext of improvement. Every well-regulated 
community has its own customs and traditions, which 
are a precious inheritance received from the super 
natural wisdom and the experience of its founders. 
In establishing any custom, or in deciding upon any 


measure of apparently secondary importance, they 
were actuated by motives which still hold good, and 
which those who come after them ought to respect. 
It was proposed to Ignatius to change the Friday 
evening collation into a real fast ; such a change 
seemed slight, but he would not consent to it. The 
Rector at Venice gave a spiritual conference daily to- 
his children, and on feasts addressed them a second 
time, which exercise had already produced remarkable 
fruit ; Ignatius did not approve of this, and restricted 
him to once a week. Besides the usual reading in the 
refectory, Father Olave had introduced, in the Roman 
College, the reading of the Life of the Saint for the 
day from the Breviary ; Ignatius rebuked him for so 
doing, not that he considered it bad in itself, since he 
afterwards adopted the plan, but because he wished 
to make his subordinate feel that it was not his place 
to establish anything out of his own head, in addition 
to the common practice. Father Jerome Nadal did 
not come off so well ; on his return from Spain, whither 
he had been twice sent as Visitor, he twice attempted 
to obtain from the Saint a prolongation of the time 
to be spent in prayer by the scholastics, and having 
urged this too strongly, he received a sharp reprimand, 
and Ignatius deprived him of a considerable part of 
the government of the Society which he had entrusted 
to him. 

31. A religious ought only to co-operate in such 
good as is conformed to the spirit of his Institute. 
Ignatius was very firm on this point, and whenever he 
saw that a zeal more ardent than enlightened was 
leading one of his children to undertake works otherwise 
excellent, but whose execution was incompatible with 
the prescriptions of the Rule, he did not allow him to 
form projects, but forbade it expressly, and told him 


for his consolation : " God will not call us to account 
for that." 

32. Ignatius was the determined enemy of exemp 
tions, and strongly attached to community life, which 
he recommended unceasingly and practised faithfully 
up to his life s end. Even when he was ill, he would 
not allow himself to be treated differently from his 
brethren, and one day when a bunch of grapes was 
placed before him at table which had not been handed 
to the others, he summoned the Father Minister, and 
reproved him for it. 

33. Reason has its province, which is vast and 
beautiful enough for it to be satisfied therewith, and if 
it goes beyond, to exercise itself elsewhere, it runs 
great risk of making a serious mistake. What concerns 
perfection does not come within its sphere, and spiritual 
things are ruled by higher principles which the light 
of nature alone -cannot reach. This is a truth which 
should be deeply impressed on those who are pledged to 
religious life, and who desire to persevere therein. A 
doctor, enlightened in other respects, lost his vocation 
through failing to recognize this. He had been in the 
Society for some length of time, and his talents had 
caused him to be chosen to inaugurate the teaching 
of philosophy in the Roman College, which had lately 
been opened. Unfortunately, on this grand oppor 
tunity, puffed up by his knowledge, and too self- 
confident, he had the imprudence to exercise his 
judgment concerning the Constitutions of the Order, 
and to wish to determine them freely according to his 
own ideas. In this unsatisfactory state of mind, he 
met with several points in the Institute which were 
not to his taste, and which he desired to see removed, 
or at least modified. Not contented with this inward 
criticism of the work of the holy Founder, he expressed 


his opinions on all occasions. Ignatius having been 
informed of this, sent for him, and tried every means 
to bring him back to sentiments more conformed to 
the state of life which he had embraced ; however, it 
was in vain, and his endeavours failed to overcome 
the obstinacy of this foolish man, whom he was 
obliged to dismiss, saying to him these memorable 
words : " The authority of Aristotle cannot prevail 
over that of the Gospel, and in matters which relate 
to the acquisition of holiness, human wisdom is not 
to be taken for an arbiter." 

34. As nothing is more calculated than discord 
to disturb and destroy the peace in a religious house, 
so also, there is nothing which renders it more con 
temptible in the eyes of worldly people, than to see 
its members divided amongst themselves, and as it 
were pulling each other to pieces. Take away charity, 
which is the soul of religion, and by a necessary con 
sequence, all religious virtues will die. 

35. Although he was very desirous to see the 
number of those increase who joined themselves to 
him to labour together for the glory of God, Ignatius 
was far from accepting indiscriminately all who offered 
themselves. His enemies have tried to make this a 
reproach, and would not see that such a reproach was 
in reality the highest praise. One of his biographers 
expresses it thus : The Servant of God was a wise 
fisherman ; he did not throw a net at hazard, which 
would have enclosed a miscellaneous multitude, but 
he used the hook, which allowed him to choose his prey. 
"There are," he said, "two points as to which I shall 
never give way : the first is, to admit no one into the 
Society without great caution, the second is, not to 
employ in the service of souls those who have been 
admitted, until they have given numerous and un- 


equivocal proofs of virtue and prudence, in the house 
as well as elsewhere." At the close of his life, in spite 
of his longing to quit the prison of his body in order 
to go to God, he was heard to say, " If anything could 
make me desire the prolongation of my exile in this 
world, it would be, above all, that I might be even 
more vigilant than in the past as to the admission 
of those who offer themselves to us." He chose his 
subjects, not on account of a certain natural goodness 
which might be more correctly called apathy, but from 
an energetic cast of character promising resources for 
action, and he said on this subject : " Those who have 
no aptitude for looking after others are not suited 
to the functions of the Society. It is not made for those 
who, when in it, would be of no use but to themselves." 
One day he was on the point of dismissing a novice 
from whom no good could be expected for others, and 
some one begged him to help the young man, repre 
senting that his. compliance would preserve a soul from 
making shipwreck in the world. He was firm, and 
replied : " There are other Orders which will render him 
this service, and which have been established precisely 
for that object." When a candidate solicited entrance 
into his house, he studied with all possible care his 
character, powers, and tastes, he inquired particularly 
as to his life and habits from his relations, from strangers 
and from those who knew him, so as only to receive 
those who were really made for him, and were in a 
manner already moulded for the end at which he 
aimed. As to this he often said : "I prefer that the 
Society should excel through the quality and worth 
of its members rather than through their number ; 
I prefer that it should be distinguished by the real 
merit of those who compose it rather than by a nama 
and a particular dress." He highly valued learned 
persons ; nevertheless, by reason of the urgent needs 


of the Church in his time, he sought his recruits still 
more amongst those who had already some experience 
of the world, and whom some position of dignity dis 
tinguished from ordinary men. He considered that 
those who possessed these advantages would be more 
speedily in a condition to render service, and that the 
authority which they had previously acquired would- 
help them to manage important matters, and be a 
recommendation in dealing with others. Convinced 
besides, that persons of that character do not stop 
half-way either in good or evil, but follow the path 
upon which they have entered to the end, he reserved 
to himself, while opening his ranks to them, to try them 
with even greater care than the rest ; and if they did 
not correspond with his hopes, he set aside the counsels 
of human prudence, and did not hesitate to send them 
away. He was careful, however, not to reject men 
of ordinary capacity but solid virtue ; on the contrary, 
he received them eagerly, convinced that their example 
alone is already a sermon of which the power often 
surpasses that of the most eloquent orators who have 
only the gift of speech with which to act upon souls. 

36. The state of life which we have embraced 
requires us to be men crucified to the world, for whom 
the world in its turn is to be crucified ; new men, I say, 
who put away their natural affections in order to put on 
Jesus Christ ; men dead to themselves that they may 
live to justice, and who, according to the saying of 
St. Paul, show themselves ministers of God, "in labours, 
in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in 
longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in 
charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power 
of God ; by the armour of justice on the right hand and 
on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and 
.good report," men in short who are striving unceasingly 


to reach a heavenly country, and who animate others 
to desire the same by all the means in their power, and 
with which their unwearied zeal to promote God s 
greatest glory inspires them men free from the dominion 
of passion and even from inclination, dependent upon 
the will and even the slightest sign of their Superiors, 
the secret intentions of which Superiors, and the motives 
for the orders which they give, they are not accustomed 
to seek for, any more than the reasons why they elevate 
one and cause another to remain in obscurity, accord 
ing to their will, but who believe that Heaven guides 
Superiors, leaving to us the glory and merit of sim 
plicity and obedience ; men, consequently, who are ever 
ready, without any need of forewarning, for anything, 
however difficult, however unreasonable it may seem 
to them to be. 

37. When a person has made in a wise and suitable 
manner, without taking counsel with the flesh or the 
world, an Election which is in itself mutable to change, 
it is not necessary to make a new Election. It suffices 
to perfect oneself in the state of life which has been 
chosen, as far as one is able. 

38. If any one has chosen without due consideration 
a state of life which is immutable, it only remains for 
him, when he begins to repent his imprudence, to 
repair, by a holy life, and the exact fulfilment of the 
obligations which he has contracted, the mistake which 
he has committed in so acting. 

39. Let him who is making the Election be thoroughly 
recollected inwardly, and during the whole time of his 
deliberation let him shut the doors of his senses as well 
as of his mind to all else; he should not willingly 
consent either to see or to hear anything which does 
not come from above. 


40. Three times, in each of which a good and right 
Election may be made, (i) When God our Lord so 
moves and attracts the will, that, without doubt or the 
power of doubting, such a devoted soul follows what 
has been pointed out to it, as St. Paul and St. Matthew 
did when they followed Christ our Lord. (2) When the 
impulse of grace is not so powerful, but is nevertheless 
strong enough to supply a kind of assurance that the 
Holy Ghost is calling us to a certain state of life. 
(3) When the soul, following the light of faith, and free 
from the agitation produced by divers spirits, chooses, 
to make its salvation more sure, one particular kind of 
life amongst those which the Church authorizes. 

41. There are two great and distinct ways which 
lead infallibly to salvation provided a person walks 
faithfully in them, the way of the commandments and 
that of the counsels. The first leads to Heaven by the 
observance of the precepts which God has laid upon 
all, and to which all, without exception, ought to 
conform their life ; the second tends to the same end 
and proceeds towards it by adding, to the observance 
of the precepts, the practice of certain counsels the 
following of which our Lord does not prescribe under 
pain of incurring His displeasure, but which He points 
out as means for the attainment of a higher degree of 
holiness, and as a more efficacious safeguard for the 
fulfilment of the precepts. Considered in themselves 
and apart from particular situations, these two paths 
do not possess the same advantages ; and the way of 
the counsels offers guarantees for the final success of 
the journey which the way of the commandments does 
not afford to an equal degree. It might appear, conse 
quently, that all, indiscriminately, ought to enter at 
once the way of the counsels ; it is not so, however, and 
such a conclusion would be incorrect. 


Many persons, indeed, have not the possibility of 
choosing between these two paths, and circumstances, 
over which they have no control, cause them to remain 
willingly or unwillingly in the simple way of the com 
mandments. It is not for them to leave that path, 
and they can remain in it without fear ; by walking in 
it courageously, with the aid of the helps which will not 
be wanting to them, beatitude is secured for them, 
which they will one day possess. They should therefore 
beware of murmuring at their state of life ; they have 
no cause for so doing, the lot which has fallen to them 
is not only good and excellent, although there may be 
another and a more preferable one, but for them, and 
in their present case, their part is the best, and the 
most favourable, since it is that which is allotted to 
them by a wise and paternal Providence, supremely 
disposing all things for the greatest profit of each. If 
they are still tempted to complain, it is well to remind 
them, that in their case, le mieux est Vennemi du bien. 

There are others who are placed in quite a different 
position, and who confine themselves to the practice of 
the precepts although there is no serious obstacle to 
hinder them from embracing that of the counsels. The 
number of such persons is not so limited as those whom 
it concerns often try . to persuade themselves. The 
Divine Master appears to them and says to them as 
He did to the young man in the Gospel : " If thou wilt 
enter into life, keep the commandments ; " then He 
adds : " If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou 
hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have 
treasure in Heaven: and come, follow Me." "By 
following My counsel you will do what is most 
pleasing to Me and no less profitable to yourself. 
Nevertheless, I do not require this absolutely, I do 
not make it of rigorous obligation to you, it is lawful 

you to remain as you are without disobeying Me ; 


yet believe in My love to you, it is this love which 
causes me to urge you to it, take the second course 
which I set before you, it is worth much more in itself, 
and especially this is so for you." Many of those to 
whom this invitation is addressed answer to it without 
any need of its being frequently repeated. It costs them 
much to do so, no doubt. Nature strives to keep them 
back, but they persist, turning a deaf ear to its objec 
tions, and some rejoice at the resolution which they 
have made. These are the valiant ones. Many, alas ! 
have not their generosity : these are the pusillanimous. 
They feel the value of the call which they hear, and are 
touched by it, but they do not know what decision to 
make, they dare not refuse what is offered, but are still 
more afraid to accept it. They are for ever considering 
the pros and cons, and never come to a determination. 
To excuse this want of courage to themselves, and 
to reassure themselves under the reproaches of their 
alarmed conscience, they take refuge in vain pretexts. 
They tell themselves, and repeat it for months and 
years, that it would be imprudent to solve a question 
which is not yet ripe for decision. Vainly has our 
Lord s saying caused a bright light to shine before 
them. They pretend that it is too feeble, that they desire 
one which is more brilliant, and in order to come to a 
decision they require evidence which they have no right 
to expect. The truth is that, perhaps without knowing 
it, they are afraid of seeing too clearly, and not under 
standing that in these matters the miraculous does not 
usually enter into God s plan, He having sufficiently 
provided us in giving us for guides, reason, and the 
teaching of faith, they call upon God to work wonders 
in order to dictate to them what they ought to do. It 
is these irresolute ones, whether conscious or not of 
their folly, whom Ignatius has in view in the four 
following paragraphs, by which they will do well to 


profit, if they do not wish their life to drag on to the 
end in troubles and anxieties. 

42. It is necessary for him who wishes God to show 
him what He requires from him, whether it be to 
embrace a state of life, or anything else which concerns 
the soul, to begin by stripping himself of all self-love 
and all private inclination. He should then abandon 
himself completely and unreservedly to God, being 
ready to perform whatever God shall suggest to him. 
Lastly, he should not imagine that he will receive 
letters from Heaven to reveal to him God s orders 
concerning him ; but, consulting the evangelical counsels 
of the Eternal Word, and estimating, with a view to the 
end for which he was created, the consequences of the 
various alternatives amongst which he has to choose, 
he should judge as to the course to be adopted and 
that to be rejected. If, after all this, he is anxious 
and uncertain, and still hesitates, let him dwell upon the 
thought of death and of the Last Judgment which will 
follow it, and let him embrace definitively what he will 
wish to have embraced when on the dread threshold of 

43. He who desires to make a good Election ought 
to be quite willing to embrace the counsels as well as 
the precepts. I go further still : in so far as it depends 
upon himself he should incline to the counsels, if the 
greater service of God demands it. In fact it needs 
more evident signs to decide that it is the will of God 
for a person to remain in a state of life in which it 
suffices to keep the commandments, than to enter the 
way of the counsels, since our Lord has openly urged 
the following of the counsels, whilst He has declared 
that great dangers are incurred in the midst of riches 
and pleasures. 


44. If it is allowable to ask God for miracles in 
order to learn His designs with regard to us, let us ask 
for them to be numerous and striking, so as to be 
assured that it is more proper to confine ourselves to 
the mere observance of the commandments than to add 
to it the practice of the counsels, for Christ has plainly 
urged us to embrace the counsels, whilst He has declared 
that the possession of riches is a source of many diffi 
culties and productive of great risk in the matter of 

45. As for those who wish for an angel from Heaven, 
to assure them that they may safely enter religion, they 
have much greater need of an angel to tell them to 
remain where they are, with the assurance of being 
saved there, so many and so great are the perils met 
with, whilst on the other hand, the aids are few, and 
in small proportion to the dangers run ; whereas in the 
cloister, it is easy for him who keeps his Rule, not only 
to be saved, but to become a Saint, since he will never 
commit a serious fault, or if he does, he will at once 
rise again. 

46. If you find some difficulty in deciding as to the 
choice of a state of life, place before your eyes a 
stranger whom you meet by chance, and who, being in 
a position similar to your own, consults you as to the 
course which he should take ; then ask yourself, with 
the view to his greater spiritual good and the honour 
of God, what advice you would give him, and take it 
for yourself. 

47. The Society having been raised to be a Religious 
Order by Pope Paul III., it was necessary to give it 
Constitutions. Meanwhile, until he could draw up 
Constitutions properly so-called, Ignatius sketched for 
his children, in the following eleven Rules, their prin- 


cipal obligations towards God, towards their Superiors, 
towards their brethren, and towards themselves. 

A. Have always, as far as possible, God in your 
mind and your mind in God ; think of nothing, love 
nothing apart from Him, and whether alone or in 
public, never turn away your eyes from His. Let all 
your proceedings tend to the fulfilment of His most 
holy will. Let your conversation turn only upon Him, 
and in all your labours never aim at any other reward 
than Himself. Take the life of Jesus Christ for your 
pattern, imprint it as a seal upon your own, and strive 
to become living images of Him. 

B. See God in your Superiors in order that respect 
for their authority and prompt obedience to their orders 
may be made easier to you. Be certain that obedience 
is an infallible interpreter of the Divine will, and a 
guide which cannot lead you astray. Lay bare to your 
Superiors, and to those who have the care of your 
soul, the most secret recesses of your conscience. Let 
your interior remain ever open to them, hide nothing 
from them, lest the enemy should take advantage of 
it to plot your ruin secretly. Be still more careful 
not to guide yourself by your own understanding, 
which is all the more blind when it thinks itself 

C. In labouring to withdraw others from the slough 
of their disorders, act prudently, use the precautions 
which those employ who afford succour to a man who 
is on the point of drowning, and who take care not to 
be drawn under by him whom they are trying to save. 
Let mutual charity cause you to love one another, not 
only as brethren, but as other selves. Since in debates 
we often see shoot forth, if not flame, at least some 
spark of indignation, refrain entirely from disputing ; 
and when there is diversity of opinion amongst you, 
put far from you all desire to triumph over others. Let 


the love of truth and the desire to make it known rule 
and terminate the discussion. 

D. Keep silence unless necessity requires you to 
speak, and then see that your tongue does not serve as 
an organ for pride which delights in words of arrogance, 
for curiosity which is ever in quest of trifling news, for 
envy ever ready to censure our neighbour, for idleness 
which, to while away its weariness, spends its time in 
silly jokes. 

E. Whatever great things the Divine Goodness 
may deign to perform through your ministry, do not 
imagine yourselves on that account to be extraordinary 
men, and do not appropriate to yourselves any part of 
the praise which belongs entirely to the arm which 
has employed you, and not to an instrument which 
is generally very disproportionate with the success 
obtained, like the jawbone of an ass which Samson 
used to exterminate the Philistines. 

F. Count as little intelligence, eloquence, learning, 
and ability in conducting business, and never consider 
yourself better rewarded for your services to others 
than when you receive from them affronts and outrages, 
the only salary which the world paid for the labours of 
Jesus Christ. 

G. If any person happen to commit a fault which is 
publicly known, so that their authority and the regard 
in which they were held suffer by it, let them not lose 
courage thereat, let them not be discouraged nor give 
way to distrust, but offer great thanksgivings to God, 
in that, by permittting their fault to be known, He has 
been pleased to disclose the weakness of a virtue which 
was considered stronger, so that there might be no 
longer danger of their being esteemed more highly than 
they deserved. 

H. Let the fall of one be a lesson for all his 
brethren, let it teach them to remain upright, let it 


remind them that they are formed of the same clay as 
he who has fallen, let it rouse them to offer earnest 
entreaties to God, that the guilty one may be completely 

I. At recreation, during the few moments which 
are given for the mind to unbend, do not forget the 
modesty which the Apostle desires to see always shine 
in us, and do not indulge in immoderate mirth any 
more than give way to a gloomy melancholy which 
would keep you apart from others to shut you up in- 

J. Let us not allow what we already hold to be 
snatched from our hands in the deceitful hope of a 
greater good; but we must know well that in order 
to make us give up the good works which we are 
bringing without difficulty to a successful issue, our 
perfidious enemy excites ardent desires within us of 
undertaking extraordinary things which will never be 

K. Lastly, continue immoveably attached to your 
holy vocation, as if you had taken root in the very 
foundations of God s house, remembering that as the 
devil often urges solitaries to wish for the offices of 
common life, in the same way he is wont to make those 
who are called to labour for the salvation of souls long 
after solitude. By means of this artifice and aided by 
their inconstancy, he leads both to their ruin, by 
making them follow paths which are the opposite of 
those which God had caused them to enter. 

48. St. Ignatius used to give the five following 
counsels by way of viaticum to those of his children 
who were setting out for distant countries : 

A. Remember, my brother, that our Lord Himself 
is sending you to foreign shores, to be His agent off 
messenger there, as we commonly say. 


B. See that you take care of yourself and guard 
yourself, as a man ought to do who is exposed to many 
perils in the midst of his enemies. 

C. Mortify your senses, and above all restrain your 

D. Behave with regard to time as if there were only 
one, and that ever the same ; be equable in prosperity 
as also in adversity, and continue free from trouble in 
the midst of fortunate events and distressing circum 

E. Do not allow your mind to remain idle, but 
whether in travelling, or in doing business, rise higher ; 
above all, let there be calmness, carefulness, and pro 
priety at table and in conversation, that you may not 
fail in foresight nor in purity of intention. 

49. St. Ignatius drew up rules for making the 
Election wisely in ordinary cases, but he does not mean 
by this to fetter the action of the Holy Spirit, Who 
breathes where He wills, when He wills, and as He 
wills. For this reason he says: "When the Holy 
Ghost urges some one to make a choice, He easily 
supplies what is wanting in the order and form of the 

50. In an Italian manuscript preserved at Florence, 
is found excellent advice on perfection, put into verse 
probably about the time of. the commencement of the 
Society, by Father Andrew des Freux or Father Fulvius 
Cardulus. They have been often placed at the beginning 
of the Spiritual Exercises and have also been published 
with the Rules of the Society. They begin thus : 

" This is the teaching which Ignatius gives his 
children, in order to obtain great advantages for them 
by the help of a short method : 

" Resist no one, not even the least ; even when you 


are in the right, prefer to yield rather than to triumph 
over any one. 

" Study to obey blindly in all things and submit 
your judgment willingly to each. 

" Do not dwell upon the faults of others, and if you 
have perceived them hide them; but seek out your 
own, and be glad that they should be known. 

" Whatever you do, or say, or think, before all, ask 
yourself if it will be useful to your neighbour and 
pleasing to God. 

" Always keep your liberty of mind, and let no 
event, and no person, however powerful, deprive you 
of it. 

" Do not form ties easily with all, but before admit 
ting any one to your intimacy, let him be approved by 
the intelligence and the reason. 

" Exercise your soul and body assiduously in the 
works of piety ; be foolish in the eyes of men, you will 
thus be wise in the eyes of God. 

11 Arrange to go over carefully morning and evening 
this teaching, and, when retiring to rest, add to it some 

51. In another manuscript at Florence, after the 
letter to the scholastics at Coimbra on obedience, is 
found, under the title Satellitium hominis boni, an enume 
ration of the qualities which a truly virtuous man 
should possess. 

" His thoughts are lofty and pious, he distrusts 

" His conversation is modest and circumspect, he is 
careful not to offend against truth. 

" His exterior is calm, he is humble, he has a gentle 

" His manners are prudent and wise, gentle and 
.agreeable, pious and edifying. 


11 His dress is clean, decent, and suitable. 

" He is abstemious, his food is simple and suited to 

" His sleep is moderate, he takes it conveniently, 
and at proper times. 

" His prayers are diligent, accompanied by hope, 
rendered affectionate by chanty, and strengthened by 

" His recreation is modest, rare, and short. 

" He does all in union with God." 

This sketch of the truly virtuous man bears the 
name of no author, but the place given to it after the 
letter on obedience, and the conformity of its doctrine 
with that of St. Ignatius, permits us to attribute it to 
our blessed Father, or to one of his early followers. 



1. If all the people and all the reasons in the world 
should unite in recommending anything to you, do not 
undertake it without first consulting God in prayer. 
We ought not to set about anything of importance 
without having previously commended ourselves to 
God, or at least looked up to Him, asking Him to 
direct us, and putting all our trust in Him, as in the 
best and wisest of fathers. 

2. Ignatius attached great importance to the diligent 
practice of prayer. From the first moment of his return 
to God up to the close of his life, he never failed to 
devote a considerable time each day to this holy 
exercise. Our Lord Who, as Lainez says, delighted 
in a special manner in the soul of His servant, for His 
part hastened to lavish upon him in prayer His rarest 
and most precious graces. He then had familiar inter 
course with him and treated with him as He treated in 
old times with His great friend Moses. These are also 
the words of Lainez. Departing from His usual conduct 
towards others, He had dispensed with, in his case, 
the intermediate steps which many, even amongst the 
most favoured souls, must slowly climb one by one, and 
He had raised him almost from the first to the most 
elevated heights of contemplation. In his raptures 
and ecstasies, which sometimes lasted for hours, and 
even on one occasion for a week, Ignatius was, by his 


own admission, much less active than passive, he lost 
the use of his senses, his body rose from the ground, 
he remained suspended in the air at a height of several 
handbreadths, and his face shone with a dazzling light 
which could scarcely be endured. His soul was inun 
dated with ineffable delights, his heart burned with 
love to his Creator, and his will became armed with 
steadfast courage to perform all that Heaven expected, 
from him. At the same time, the veil which hides from 
us impenetrable mysteries) was withdrawn from his 
eyes, the most vivid light illuminated his understanding, 
the most difficult truths were plain to him, the order 
pursued by the Divine Architect of the universe in the 
creation was revealed to him, he was shown the wonder 
by which the Body and Blood of the Saviour are present 
in the Eucharist under the sacramental species, the 
Adorable Trinity manifested Itself clearly to him, though 
under forms adapted to our way of conceiving things 
here below. Moreover, he could say in confidence to 
one of his friends: "At Manresa, in a single hour, I 
knew more than all the doctors in the world could ever 
have taught me ; " and also :. " If all the sacred writings 
were to be lost, and together with them all the proofs 
which establish our belief my faith would remain 
uninjured ; enough has been shown to me in prayer to 
cause me to be ready joyfully to shed the last drop of 
my blood at once, in testimony to the truths which 
Holy Church presents to us." 

3. By Spiritual Exercises are meant certain ways of 
examining the conscience, of meditating, contemplating, 
and praying vocally and mentally. ... As walking and 
running are bodily exercises, in like manner the various 
methods of preparing and disposing the soul to get rid 
of all its unruly affections, and, after having got rid of 
them, of seeking and finding the will of God in the 



ordering of one s life, with the view to salvation, are 
called Spiritual Exercises. 

4. In the opinion of Ignatius, the Spiritual Exercises 
are a certain source of such precious blessings, that he 
thought he could not manifest his gratitude to his bene 
factors, in any way more advantageous to them, than 
by inducing them to use these Exercises. He wrote as 
follows to Dr. Miona, who was his confessor at the 
University of Alcala in Spain, and afterwards in Paris : 
" I much wish to receive news of all that concerns you ; 
and this is not surprising considering how much I owe 
you as your spiritual son. I should wish, as is only 
just, to correspond to the love and paternal devotion 
which you have always had for me, and which you have 
shown by your deeds ; but I know of no other means 
in this life of discharging part of my debt towards you 
than to induce you to make, for a month, under the 
direction of him whom I have named to you, the 
Spiritual Exercises, as you yourself offered to do. If 
therefore you have tried them and relished them, I ask 
you, for our Lord s service, to write to tell me so. If 
you have not yet done so, I entreat you by His love, 
and by the painful death which He suffered for us, to 
set about it. If you should ever repent having done so, 
I will not only willingly undergo any punishment which 
it may please you to inflict upon me, but I will consent 
also to be regarded by you as a man who mocks 
spiritual persons, to whom nevertheless I owe every 
thing. ... I conjure you most earnestly, for our Lord s 
service, to do what I have told you, that the Divine 
Master may not some day reproach me for not having 
urged you thereto with all my might, since the Spiritual 
Exercises are all that I can conceive, feel, or understand 
that is best in this life, both for the benefit which a 
person may derive from them for himself, and for the 


fruit, help, and spiritual advantages which he may 
draw from them for others. Even though you should 
not feel the need of them for your own private good, 
you will see that they will serve you more than you can 
imagine, in promoting the spiritual good of others." 

5. Amongst the numerous and important services 
rendered to the Church by Ignatius, that of causing 
meditation to be valued is not the least. His efforts in 
this respect have been crowned with wonderful success 
which, after three centuries, still continues, and we see 
it still in practice. We may safely affirm that if, at the 
present time amongst us, meditation has definitively 
become part of the daily habits of a large number of 
believers, it must in great measure be attributed to 
Ignatius. Many obstacles had to be overcome in order 
to obtain such a result, and the undertaking was an 
immense one. With some it was a matter of returning 
to an observance which was to them obligatory, it is 
true, but against the re-establishment of which they 
urged the prescription of long disuse. Others had to 
be led to adopt a practice to which they had been 
hitherto strangers, and which could not be laid upon 
them by any positive precept. Indeed, it was most 
desirable, or even necessary, to furnish all with some 
.safe rules to guide their inexperience in the path upon 
which they were urged to enter. Ignatius proved equal 
io this threefold task ; with the help of his Exercises, 
he made himself, at the same time, according to the 
needs of each, the restorer, the introducer, and the 
teacher of mental prayer. 

Although, in the intention of their author, the 
Spiritual Exercises are not a mere manual of medita 
tion, and their scope goes far beyond that, yet meditation 
occupies so considerable a place in them that, to apply 
oneself to these Exercises is necessarily to apply oneself 


to meditation. Consequently, in labouring with all his 
might to extend the use of the Exercises, Ignatius 
laboured also to spread far and near the practice of 

At the present day we cannot easily picture to our 
selves a religious house whose members are not con 
strained, by their rule, to devote a fixed time every 
morning to meditation, but at the time when Ignatius 
appeared, such a phenomenon was comparatively rare. 
There were then to be met with, side by side with 
monasteries which had preserved all their primitive 
fervour, others in which mental prayer was entirely 
neglected. This was a breach by which relaxation could 
not fail to enter ; and sad experience showed it only too 
well. The Saint quickly perceived this evil, he wished to 
remedy it as soon as possible, and did not wait to set 
to work until he had been ordained priest. 

Soon after his conversion, whilst engaged in the 
elementary study of letters at Barcelona, he heard of a 
convent of nuns in which regular discipline was seri 
ously relaxed. He at once formed his plan. He chose 
the church of that convent for his usual place of 
devotion, staying there prostrate for four or five hours 
daily, and imploring with tears the success of his 
design. The assiduity of this stranger was remarked, 
The curiosity of the nuns aroused concerning him. 
They learned that the whole city considered him to be 
a saint, and they wished to see and hear him. Ignatius 
presented himself at the grating, and spoke forcibly of 
the perfection which God requires in His spouses, of 
the strict account which they will have to render to 
Him in this matter, and of the terrible punishments 
which those will not escape whom death shall surprise in 
their unfaithfulness. Their hearts were deeply touched. 
He was about to retire, but they made him promise to 
return. This was what he hoped; he returned, and in a 


series of conferences unfolded successively the great 
truths whose efficacy he has himself experienced at 
Manresa. He treated of the end of man, of sin, of Hell, 
of the necessity of following Jesus, Whose different 
mysteries he set before them by turns. The nuns 
were never weary of listening to him, but he was not 
satisfied with this. He asked them not to be contented 
with hearing him speak, but to reflect at leisure after his 
departure upon what he had said to them. He desired 
them to take it to themselves personally by serious self- 
application, and to put away whatever they discover 
which is not in accordance with the holy state which 
they have embraced. His advice was accepted with 
docility ; after the Spiritual Exercises, under the influ 
ence of meditation, of which he has thus brought back 
the use, abuses disappeared, regular discipline flourished 
again, and the convent was gradually transformed. Such 
a change irritated certain persons whose guilty projects 
it defeated, and it was their wish to prevent Ignatius 
from continuing his cares towards the nuns, and from 
concluding what he had so happily begun. He received 
notice to cease visiting the convent, and was threatened 
with injury if he does not attend to this injunction. 
He was firm ; hired persons were posted on the road by 
which he must pass, to insult him, and twice go so 
far as to ill-treat him cruelly. Yet he persevered in his 
good work. Exasperated by such constancy, the rage 
of his enemies knew no bounds, and they commissioned 
two Moorish slaves to kill him. These men lay in wait 
for the Servant of God in a solitary place and struck him 
so violently that at last he fell to the ground like one 
dead. He was found by some passers-by, who carried 
him to his lodging, and when, after fifty-four days of 
suffering, hanging between life and death, he was able 
to rise from his bed, in spite of the representations 
and entreaties of his friends, he hastened there again to 


impress the seal of perseverance upon all those hearts 
which he had brought back to God. Nor is this an 
isolated fact. What Ignatius did on this occasion he 
himself repeated, and has also since done by his com 
panions, whenever occasion required. In like manner, 
by means of the Spiritual Exercises, he re-established 
the practice of meditation in a large number of places. 

6. Ignatius not only employed himself successfully 
in causing meditation to revive in the cloister, but also 
contributed, as much and perhaps more than any one 
else to make it penetrate and become common amongst 
the clergy and the faithful. Before his time men of the 
world, even those who were good and pious, had 
scarcely heard the word meditation uttered. A com 
monly received prejudice caused it to be regarded as 
incompatible with the exigencies of secular life. There 
was so little hope of its gaining an entrance therein 
that no attempt was made to obtain it, and most 
Christians were thus deprived of one of the surest 
means of sanctification which could be offered to them. 
Without troubling himself about the ideas then current 
on this point, the Servant of God resolutely undertook 
to lead men of all conditions to so salutary a practice ; 
and, with the help of his Exercises, he has succeeded. 
We have already remarked, that whilst aiming at a 
more general result, the Exercises have this effect, in 
itself an important one, of bringing those who follow 
them to the practice of meditation. They show the 
importance of it, they give esteem and relish for it, 
they facilitate its use, they cause the habit of it to be 
formed, and the need of it felt. In order to measure 
the extent of the influence exercised by Ignatius on the 
spread of meditation throughout Christian society, we 
have only to recall to mind the immense number of 
those who were persuaded by him, directly or indirectly, 


to apply themselves to the Exercises. We must count 
them by hundreds and even by thousands. Through 
his urgent solicitations, addressed by word of mouth to 
those whom Providence brought into immediate contact 
with him, and through his active correspondence by 
which he roused the absent, he had the joy of seeing 
the Exercises widely spread in a short time. The most 
illustrious persons in the universities, men high in office, 
nobles, prelates, and princes of the Church, considered 
themselves fortunate in going through them under his 
direction. Thus, whilst going through his course of 
philosophy at Paris, he gave them to three of the most 
celebrated doctors of the faculty. They were so 
amazed at the way in which he declared to them the 
most sublime mysteries of the faith, that, proclaiming 
him their master, they proposed, if he would consent to 
it, to make him a doctor without submitting him to an 
examination. In order to give the Exercises to Peter 
Ortiz, who was commissioned by Charles V. to maintain 
the cause, at the Court of the Sovereign Pontiff, of 
Catherine of Aragon, who had been unjustly repudi 
ated by Henry VIII., he shut himself up for forty 
days in the solitude of Monte Cassino. When the 
retreat was ended, the Emperor s envoy declared that 
he felt extreme joy and extreme grief. His joy was 
caused by his having learnt, in so short a time, this new 
philosophy of the existence of which so many years of 
study had not given him the slightest suspicion ; but at 
the same time he deeply regretted that he had come to 
the knowledge of it so late, at an age and in a position 
in which it would be very difficult for him to profit by 
it as he wished. Ignatius also gave the Exercises to 
Cardinal Contarini, and that Prince of the Church con 
ceived such high esteem for them that he desired to 
copy them with his own hand and bequeath them to his 
relations as the most valuable part of his inheritance. 

OiV PRAYER. 205 

Being unable to satisfy the eagerness of all who desired 
to receive the Exercises from him, Ignatius deputed his 
children to give them. To mention only the principal, 
Faber, Canisius, Strada, Araoz, Villanova, and Dome- 
nech, gave the Exercises to a multitude of persons of 
every rank in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and 
France. While the Council of Trent was being held, 
Lainez, Salmeron, and Le Jay explained them to a 
large number of the members of that august assembly. 
After the lapse of some time, being no longer able to 
accede to the requests which they received, they were 
even obliged to use as directors those who, having pre 
sented themselves first, had been fortunate enough to 
learn from them how to handle these spiritual weapons. 
When they returned to their respective dioceses, many 
of these prelates wished their clergy and people to 
enjoy the same privilege, and endeavoured to procure 
it for them. 

7. Ignatius used every means, and turned all to 
account in order to lead others to apply themselves to 
the Spiritual Exercises. When he was studying at 
Paris, there was in the city a celebrated Doctor of 
Theology, otherwise a good man, but more occupied 
with worldly affairs than with his spiritual progress. 
Ignatius earnestly desired to win him entirely to Jesus 
Christ, but did not know how to gain his object. He 
had already made several unsuccessful attempts for 
this end. At last, one day, accompanied by one from 
whom I heard it, relates Father Ribadeneira, the 
Servant of God paid a visit to the Doctor and found 
him playing billiards. " You have come opportunely, 
Master Ignatius," said the latter to his visitor, "we 
will play together." The Saint excused himself, pleading 
his total ignorance of the game. " No, indeed," persisted 
the other, " you shall learn it, and will play at least one 


game; you cannot refuse me that." "Well! be it so, 
illustrious Doctor," replied Ignatius, " let us play, but 
what shall we play for ? A poor man like myself cannot 
play for money, and if we play for nothing the game 
possesses no interest. This is my idea : as I have 
nothing in the world but my own mean person, that 
shall be my stake. If I lose, I will obey you for a 
month, and if you lose, you will do the same to me." 
The Doctor in joke accepted the conditions. The 
.game began ; Ignatius, who had never touched a cue, 
played nevertheless so successfully that our Lord 
Himself seemed to guide his hand. His adversary 
did not make one point, and was completely beaten. 
Understanding that there was something extraordi 
nary in this, he confessed himself vanquished, he 
made the Spiritual Exercises for a month under the 
direction of Ignatius, and profited so much by them 
that his life completely changed, to the great edifica 
tion of all. 

8. The restorer of meditation in the cloister, and 
the introducer of it amongst Christians living in the 
world, Ignatius is also, if we may be allowed to use 
the expression, its legislator. That he is a consummate 
master in this Divine knowledge no one denies ; but 
without wishing to force our opinion upon any one, we 
think we are also justified in saying, that for the 
generality of those who apply themselves to meditation, 
there is no guide equal to him. St. Philip Neri, who 
also engaged himself so successfully in extending the 
practice of meditation, proclaimed himself his disciple 
in this matter, and declared that he only began to 
make real meditation after he had been taught in his 
school. Meeting one day two of our Fathers in a 
church, he asked them to what Order they belonged. 
" We are religious of the Society of Jesus," they replied. 



The Saint at once rejoined : " You are sons of an illus 
trious Father, for my part I owe him deep gratitude, 
for it is in his school that I learned how to make Mental 

Not that Ignatius intended in his Spiritual Exercises 
to write a didactic treatise on meditation, but in reality 
all the essential elements for a treatise of such a nature 
are to be found in his book, and for its composition it 
would suffice to collect and place in synthetical order 
the information which he gives successively according 
to the needs of him who is going through the Exercises 
under his direction. We appeal confidently to the 
testimony of those who have had experience of this ; 
from whatever point of view we consider the theory of 
meditation such as it is easily evolved from the Spiritual 
Exercises, we only meet with subject for admiration. 
Calm consideration or meditation upon a truth, by the 
help of the three principal powers of the soul ; contem 
plation of a mystery at the simple representation of 
which one is present, as it were, by looking at the 
persons who take part in it, by listening to what they 
say, by reflecting upon what they are doing ; when the 
subject admits of it, application of the senses, exercising 
themselves in turns, each according as it is capable of 
doing, to make some important teaching more deeply 
felt ; different ways of employing oneself profitably 
during vocal prayer, and which, by simple attention 
to a word, open out little by little immense horizons 
and transport the soul to the highest summits. What 
a variety of methods, and what diversity of operations, 
amongst which each can choose what is best suited to 
his type of character, to his inclinations, his capacity, 
his particular situation, and his present disposition. 
Vainly should we seek elsewhere a direction more con 
formed to our nature, more within the reach of those 
of good-will, easier to grasp and to reduce to practice, 


more fruitful in results of sanctification, and less liable 
to delusion. What simplicity of organization ! What 
plain-dealing ! 

Instead of keeping us upon the threshold of medita 
tion by a series of preliminaries whose multiplicity 
would perplex us and exhaust our powers at the outset, 
Ignatius, after a sufficient but short preparation, makes 
us enter upon it, and places us immediately in relation 
with God. While appealing to our feelings, he takes 
care not to deal with them alone, and not to allow 
reason to remain aloof; to it indeed he appeals 
above all, he neglects nothing that may enlighten and 
convince it, he counts upon it for the prudence and 
firmness of the resolutions to be made. Who has ever 
taken more complete possession than he has done of 
our whole living powers, of all the forces at our 
disposal, and succeeded more effectually in placing 
them at our service during meditation ? He makes the 
memory, understanding, will, and senses co-operate in 
it. Even the imagination is turned to account. This 
faculty, whose flights are often so inconvenient when 
we wish to apply ourselves most seriously to anything, 
is not only rendered inoffensive by being employed in 
some manner, but is utilized, and he makes it contri 
bute to success by interesting it. Opposite require 
ments are skilfully reconciled, and vigour and con 
sideration, strength and gentleness, rule and liberty, are 
harmoniously tempered. He shows his discretion in 
requiring no more than can be given, and his per 
suasive persistence in obtaining it without reserve. If 
he allows high flights to the strong wings of the con- 
templatives, he provides them beforehand against the 
artifices of the tempter, he does not leave them to 
wander fruitlessly in idle reveries, he recalls them in 
due time to earth, and leads them back always to the 
real end of meditation, greater purification of self, and 


increasing earnestness in promoting the glory of God.. 
What a masterpiece is this ! 

9. Before beginning the meditation, we must place 
ourselves in the presence of God, which Ignatius 
expresses as follows: "I will stand for the space of 
a Pater noster one or two paces from the place in which 
I am about to contemplate or meditate, and with my 
mind raised on high consider how God our Lord sees 
me, and I will make an act of reverence or humiliation." 

10. In beginning the meditation we must implore 
the Divine assistance, which Ignatius calls the pre 
paratory prayer. This is "to ask our Lord for grace 
that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be 
ordained purely to the service and praise of His Divine 

11. Whilst reserving the chief part for reflection, 
the method of Ignatius often recalls him who is making 
the meditation to prayer properly so-called. He must 
invariably begin and end it with prayer, but moreover,, 
he should address himself to God, to the Blessed Virgin,, 
and to the angels and saints during the course of the 
meditation, whenever an inward attraction impels him 
to do so. The form of prayer which Ignatius proposes 
for this purpose is particularly simple and affectionate. 
This is what he says : " The colloquy is made properly 
by speaking as one friend speaks to another, or as a 
servant to his master ; at one time asking for some 
favour, at another blaming oneself for some evil com 
mitted, and again informing him of one s position, and 
seeking counsel in it." 

12. Meditation requires the whole man; even the 
body should co-operate in this holy exercise in so far 
as it is capable. The fourth addition is to enter on 
the contemplation, at one time kneeling, at another 



prostrate on the earth, or stretched on the ground with 
my face upwards, now seated, now standing, ever intent 
on seeking that which I desire. Two things are to be 
noticed : first, if kneeling, or if prostrate, I find that 
which I want, I will not try any other position ; 
secondly, that in the point in which I shall find what 
I desire, there will I rest, without being anxious to 
proceed to another, until I have satisfied myself. 

13. It is not to know much, but it is to understand 
and enjoy the matter interiorly, that fills and satisfies 
the soul. 

14. To prevent the imagination from troubling us, 
and to oblige it to afford us valuable co-operation, 
Ignatius wishes us to make it share in our Spiritual 
Exercises. He aims at this by what he calls the 
composition of place. This is what he says concerning 
it : "In contemplation or meditation on visible matters, 
such as the contemplation of Christ our Lord, Who is 
visible, the composition will be to see with the eyes of 
the imagination the corporeal place where the thing I 
wish to contemplate is found. I say the corporeal place, 
such as the Temple or the mountain, where Jesus 
Christ or our Lady is found, according to what I desire 
to contemplate. In meditation on invisible things, such 
as the present meditation on sins, the composition will 
be to see with the eyes of the imagination and to 
consider how that my soul is imprisoned in this corrup 
tible body, and the whole man, body and soul together, 
in this vale of misery, as it were in exile among brute 

15. Ignatius desires any one who wishes to apply 
himself profitably to meditation to work at it for the 
present for himself alone, as if he were in a manner 
alone in the world ; he urges him to confine himself t 


the subject of the meditation and not to allow himself 
to be drawn away from it by thoughts and feelings, 
which are perhaps excellent in themselves, but without 
immediate relation with the end at which he is at 
present aiming. 

1 6. The tears which we shed during meditation 
have more value and merit in proportion as the 
thoughts and considerations which cause them to flow 
are more lofty. Yet, although in itself, the consideration 
of the Divine Persons is more perfect than that of the 
mysteries of our Lord, and the latter is more perfect 
than the consideration of our sins, much the best for 
-each individual is the consideration in which God 
communicates Himself most to his soul, causing it 
to participate in His holy gifts and spiritual graces: 
for, God sees and knows what is best suited to us ; and 
knowing all, He shows us the path we ought to follow. 
For our part, in order that we may, with the help of 
grace, find this path, it is very useful to try several, 
that we may pursue the one which is more plainly for 
us God s way. 

17. When a person makes the meditation, he should 
not be satisfied with what is vague, nor meditate 
merely for the sake of meditating ; but he should, 
from the outset, aim at carrying away from the medi 
tation some result which is positive, personal, imme 
diate, and clearly defined, a result which he has it 
much at heart to obtain. Advice full of wisdom, which 
the Servant of God gives as follows : At the beginning 
of the meditation I ought " to ask of God our Lord 
that which I wish and desire. The petition ought to 
be according to the subject-matter, i.e., if the contem 
plation is on the Resurrection, the petition ought to be 
to ask for joy with Christ rejoicing; if it be on the 
Passion, to ask for grief, tears, and a sense of pain 


in union with Christ in torment ; here it will be to ask 
for shame and confusion for myself, seeing how many 
souls have been lost for one single mortal sin, and how 
many times I have merited to be lost eternally for my 
many sins." 

1 8. The enemy is wont often enough to strive to 
manage that the hour of the contemplation, meditation,. 
or prayer, be shortened ; we should cut off nothing, 
however, but so act that our mind may find peace in 
the thought that we have remained a full hour in the 
exercise, and even a longer rather than a shorter time. 

19. As in time of consolation it is easy and 
pleasant to remain the full hour in contemplation, so 
in time of desolation it is very difficult to complete it ; 
wherefore the exercitant in order to go against the 
desolation, and to overcome the temptations, must 
always remain a short time beyond the full hour, so 
as to accustom himself not only to resist the enemy, 
but even to overthrow him. 

20. When a person enters the way of piety and 
applies himself to prayer, two things, abundance and 
want, consolation and desolation, are equally dangerous. 
Abundance and consolation are liable to nourish our 
pride, which is always inclined to see in these favours 
the reward of signal merit, which it flatters itself it has 
acquired, whereas we ought to consider them as alms 
which are completely gratuitous, an alms which is often 
bestowed in preference upon the most wretched. On 
the other hand, want and desolation easily produce 
weariness, sadness, and distrust, which contract the 
soul ; under their influence, we are tempted to think 
that God has withdrawn Himself completely from us, 
whilst in reality He only veils His face, and we find 
it difficult to persuade ourselves that He has not 
rejected and cursed us like the hills of Gilboa, because 


the dew from heaven no longer comes to refresh us. 
In these two states, so directly opposite, one must by 
turns afford help to the other. When we are in deso 
lation, let us remember the consolations we before 
experienced, and think that if they were granted to 
us in the past, it was not because we were then less 
unworthy of them than we are now, but because God 
deigned, merely out of His goodness, to cast a glance 
of pity at us, because He has dealt with us as masters 
do who throw a choice bit from their table to their 
little dog, whose eyes, fixed upon them, ask in their 
own way for some remains of the feast. When, on the 
other hand, we are filled with delight, let us remember 
what we were but yesterday, when, as it were, we 
languished without water under the dog-star, and let 
us think what we shall be to-morrow if it shall please 
God to check the current of His extraordinary bounty. 
Moreover, when grace no longer makes itself felt, and 
seems to have forsaken us, when dryness again takes 
possession of us, and trouble depresses us, let us take 
care not to make any change in the resolutions we 
formerly made, when our Lord visited us ; likewise, 
when the torrent of celestial pleasures overflows for 
us, we should not be in a hurry to contract any engage 
ment, nor to bind ourselves by any vow, above all, by 
any which would be of lifelong obligation, and be 
difficult to perform ; let us wait a little, until the 
transport is calmed which lifts us out of ourselves, and 
which, weak as we are, makes it appear that nothing 
will henceforth be beyond our strength, let us take time 
to examine the matter at leisure, in order that reason 
may decide, and not an outburst of indiscreet fervour. 

21. " God loves me, He loves me much more than 
I love myself." It was by becoming penetrated by 
this consoling truth that Ignatius encouraged and 


comforted himself when tried by aridity in prayer,, 
and aridity then seemed to him a blessing granted by 
God for his greater good. 

22. If a person wishes to perfect himself in the 
practice of meditation, it is well to examine himself as 
to the manner in which he makes it. " After having 
finished the exercise . . . sitting or walking, I will 
examine how I have succeeded in the contemplation 
or meditation; if badly, I will look for the cause 
whence it proceeds, and when I have seen it I will be 
sorry for it, so as to amend in future; if well, I will 
thank God our Lord, and proceed in the same manner 
another time." 

23. The practice of meditation often seems laborious 
and difficult to persons of good-will merely because they 
go at it with violence and contention. Any meditation 
wherein the understanding labours fatigues the body. 
There are other meditations which enter equally into 
God s plan, but are too often forgotten in our time, 
meditations full of peace for the understanding, without 
labour for the interior faculties of the soul, and which 
are made without exterior physical effort. Such medi 
tations do not fatigue the body but rest it, except in 
the two following cases. First, when they make us 
forget to take food, and to allow nature the relaxation 
it requires. As to food, when for instance these medi 
tations absorb us to such a degree, that we forget to 
give the body necessary refreshment at the proper 
hours. As to relaxation, I mean pious relaxation,, 
when for instance we allow the mind to pass freely 
from one thing to another, provided it be good or 
indifferent, excluding only such as are bad. Secondly, 
w r hen such meditations deprive us of necessary sleep. 
It often happens that those who devote themselves. 
to meditation or contemplation, use their mind so much. 


immediately before the hour for sleep, that, completely 
occupied with the subjects upon which they have 
meditated during the day, or prepared for the morrow, 
they are unable to close their eyes. The enemy then 
endeavours to present to their mind all the good 
thoughts he can : he has but one end in this, namely, 
to exhaust the body by depriving it of sleep. This is 
a thing which must positively be avoided. 

24. Ignatius earnestly wished that, by taking care 
not to lose sight of God in the midst of their various 
occupations, the life of the members of the Society 
might become a perpetual prayer. " It ought to be," 
he said, " a familiar practice with us to see God present 
in everything, and not to wait for the time of meditation 
to raise our soul towards Heaven." 

25. When on the point of starting for Portugal, 
w r here he was to pursue his studies, Father Brandam 
had begged Ignatius to settle some practical difficulties, 
for his private direction, and he had answered him 
with great clearness on all these points. Brandam at 
once wrote down, as nearly as possible word for 
word, what the Servant of God had said, and, as a 
guarantee for its correctness, showed the paper to Father 
Polanco, the Saint s secretary. Polanco revised the 
manuscript and signed it, probably by order of Ignatius. 
Shortly after, the Rector of Coimbra, Urban Fernandez, 
having in his turn addressed some similar questions 
to the holy Founder, Polanco, being charged to give 
him an answer, referred him to this little memoir, pro 
mising to have it sent to him in case he did not already 
possess it. In the sixth question, Brandam asked his 
Father to point out to him the practices of piety to 
which he should give the preference, conformably with 
the spirit of his vocation. The following is the reply: 
" On account of the end aimed at in their studies, our 


scholastics cannot devote a great deal of time to 
meditation. But besides the spiritual exercises of 
their Rule, that is, attendance at Mass, an hour s 
meditation, the two daily examens, confession and 
communion weekly, they can nourish their piety by 
endeavouring to realize the presence of God on every 
occasion, for instance, when conversing with any one, 
in going and coming, while at meals, in studying, in 
listening to the lessons given by their masters, in the 
things which they see, in short, in whatever they do, 
since the Divine Majesty is. in all things by presence, 
by power, and by essence. This way of meditating, 
which consists in finding God in everything, is easier 
than that which raises us to Divine things of a nature 
more abstract, but which we can only reach with effort 
and fatigue. It constitutes a most useful practice, 
calculated to draw down upon us precious visits from 
our Lord, if we prepare ourselves by some short 
aspirations to receive Him. The scholastics can also 
give free vent to their devotion by frequently offering 
to God their studies and their labours, accepting them 
from love to Him, without regard to their tastes, but 
.solely with the desire of serving Him in something, 
and by the help which they will some day give to 
.souls for whose sake He died." 

26. Urban Fernandez, Rector of Coimbra, wishing 
not to deviate in any w r ay from the spirit of Ignatius 
in the government of his College, had written to the 
Servant of God to obtain from him some rules for his 
conduct, as we mentioned in the last paragraph. 
Ignatius commissioned his secretary Polanco to reply, 
as he often did. In what concerns prayer, he repeats 
to Fernandez what he had already said to Brandam, 
only, instead of applying it specially to scholastics, he 
extends it to all the members of the Society in general 


Polanco puts it thus, by order of the holy Founder : 
" As to prayer and meditation, except in case of 
peculiar necessity arising from painful and dangerous 
temptations, our Father prefers that we should en 
deavour to find God in all that we do, rather than 
devote a long time continuously to the exercise of 
prayer. The spirit which he desires to see in the 
members of the Society is this : that if possible, they 
should not find less devotion in any work of charity 
and obedience, than in prayer or meditation, because 
every one of their actions ought to be performed solely 
for the love and service of God. Each ought to find 
his greatest contentment in what is commanded him, 
since he cannot then doubt that he is conforming 
himself to the will of God." 

27. As to the hours which you devote to your 
inward and outward exercises, my advice would be 
to shorten them by half. When our thoughts turn, 
either of their own accord or through the instigation 
of the enemy, to things which are improper, idle, or 
unlawful, we ought generally, in proportion as our 
mind inclines more ardently to such things, to multiply 
these inward or outward exercises, according to the 
character of the persons, and the diversity of the 
thoughts and temptations, in order to conquer them, 
and to prevent the will from taking pleasure in them, 
and consenting to them. By the law of contraries, 
the more such thoughts are weakened and die out, so 
much the more do good thoughts and holy inspirations 
enter ; and it is our duty to allow them free course by 
opening to them all the doors of our soul. Conse 
quently, as you have no longer need of so many 
weapons to conquer your enemies (so far as I can 
judge by the light which God gives me about your 
grace), I should consider it best that the half of the 


time taken from your exercises should at first be 
spent in study ; for, in the future, not only infused 
knowledge, but also acquired knowledge will be very 
necessary, or at least very useful to you ; then, in the 
management of ycur affairs, and in spiritual conversa 
tions, endeavouring always to keep your soul tranquil, 
peaceful, and prepared for whatever it may please our 
Lord to perform in it. For, it is without doubt, a sign 
of greater virtue and greater grace, to be able to enjoy 
our Lord in various offices and places than in one only i 
to arrive at this, we must depend firmly upon the good 
ness of our Divine Master. 

28. After having advised St. Francis Borgia to 
exchange his excessive austerities for penances less 
injurious to health, Ignatius recommends him to seek 
to unite himself with God rather by prayer than by 
macerations, which deprive him of the necessary 
strength to labour for the salvation of others, and he 
says to him : " Seek more immediately our Divine 
Master Himself, I mean His most holy gifts, . . . 
embrace them, and be closely united to them. This 
is the happiest and most blessed path, that which 
leads to, and is concerned with, eternal life. By these 
gifts I mean such as it is not in our power to have 
when we desire them, but which are simply bestowed 
on us by the Giver of all good, to Whose almighty 
power no blessing is too great : such are, for example, 
with regard to the Divine Majesty, intensity of faith, 
hope, and charity, spiritual joy and rest, tears, deep 
consolations, elevation of mind, Divine impressions 
and illuminations, and all other spiritual tastes and 
sentiments relating to such gifts, such as humility, 
and profound respect for the holy Church our Mother, 
for those who govern it, and for its teachers. Every 
one of these holy gifts should be preferred to all bodily 


acts, which are only good in so far as they aim at 
acquiring these gifts, or at least part of them. I do 
not mean by this that we ought to seek them solely for 
the pleasure which we find in them : certainly not. 
But recognizing that without these gifts, all our 
thoughts, words, and deeds are confused, cold and 
troubled, we should desire these gifts in order that by 
means of them they may become ardent, clear, and 
just, for the greater service of God. From this it 
follows that we ought to wish for these precious gifts 
wholly or in part, and these spiritual graces, so far as 
with their help we may promote God s greater glory. 
As when the body is in danger, in consequence of 
excessive labours, the best thing to do is to seek for 
these gifts by acts of the understanding and by 
moderate exercises : so, not only will the soul be 
healthy, but, as a healthy mind animates a body 
which is so also, the whole will become more healthy, 
and more fit to serve God." 

29. Ignatius valued prayer most highly, and he 
devoted a considerable time every day to this holy 
exercise, from which he derived very precious fruit ; 
nevertheless, he much preferred the practice of mortifi 
cation to that of prayer, and he went so far as to 
suspect prayer when unaccompanied by mortification. 
By mortification he here understood less that which 
afflicts the body than that which attacks one s own 
will and judgment. Prayer and mortification are 
undoubtedly closely united. It is impossible to apply 
oneself seriously to one whilst the other is neglected, 
and it is a gross delusion to pretend that we possess 
the true spirit of prayer when we are not at the same 
time striving to acquire the spirit of mortification. 
Many persons, however, make mistakes on this point,, 
and this had not escaped the notice of Ignatius, who 


lost no opportunity of guarding his children before 
hand against this dangerous error. He was aware 
that prayer does indeed make us understand the 
necessity and advantages of virtue, but it belongs to 
mortification to cause us to produce the acts, without 
which we cannot be really virtuous. It is the same 
with holiness as with eloquence. In order to become- 
eloquent, two things are requisite, to know the rules 
of the art of speaking well, and to practise oneself in 
applying them properly ; but, in the opinion of those 
competent to judge, practice is the more necessary of 
these two things for attaining the end aimed at. So, 
to arrive at the possession of holiness, it is not enough 
to have learnt the theory of it in prayer, but this theory 
must also be reduced to practice and made part of our 
life by acts, which cannot be done without struggle, 
and sacrifice, and in other words, by mortification. But, 
If both these things are necessary, they are not so to 
the same extent, and the latter is undoubtedly the 
more indispensable. Also, in order to become a saint, 
it is much more important to set to work and to realize 
the conditions to the fulfilment of which the acquire 
ment of holiness is attached, than to find out specu- 
latively what those conditions are. 

Under this conviction, Ignatius took care not to 
measure the spiritual progress of any one by the 
length of time which he gave to prayer, but by 
the vigour which he used in resisting self, and in 
subduing the revolts of his heart and senses. He 
said concerning this, "Long experience has taught 
me that out of a hundred persons who place the 
height of perfection in spending several hours in 
prayer, there are not ten who are not attached to 
their own opinion, who do not trust to their own 
particular ideas, who are not difficult to manage, easily 
taking offence at the restraints of observance, and 


thinking that they have the capacity and the right to 
guide others. Such persons poison themselves, by 
their indiscretion, at the very source from which they 
should have drawn life, persuading themselves that 
all the dreams which cross their brain during prayer 
are so many heavenly inspirations, from which they 
must not depart, but which they ought to follow blindly, 
and to take for the rule of their judgment and behaviour. 
If they have a natural inclination to obstinacy, they 
become intractable, and no one can obtain a hearing 
from them. Sheltering their obstinacy under the false 
but specious pretext that God makes known His will 
directly to them, they believe no one but themselves. 
They often go astray in a most deplorable manner, 
and commit all kinds of extravagances, on account of 
which the holy and salutary exercise of prayer is dis 
credited by the ignorant, who attribute to it the errors 
which belong only to the individual." 

On the other hand, Ignatius esteemed more highly 
a single heroic act tending to subdue nature, and show 
ing the generous contempt with which a person trampled 
upon self-love, than pious sighs softly breathed and 
sweet tears shed during whole hours of prayer. He 
often used to say, " I fear lest in seeking to attain to 
the perfection proper to the Society, we should mistake 
the way which should lead to it, and put prayer in the 
place of self-renunciation." 

Father Nadal often urged Ignatius to lengthen the 
time for prayer beyond what had been prescribed 
hitherto, but the Saint would never consent to do so, 
and answered the Father : " I admit that in order to 
gain empire over the passions, it is necessary to apply 
oneself a long time to meditation and work at it care 
fully before God, and with oneself by prayer and 
reflection, but he who has once reached that point, 
will unite himself more closely with God, in a quarter 


of an hour of recollection, than an unmortified person 
can do during many hours of prayer, for the greatest 
hindrance which prevents the soul from rising towards 
God and uniting itself with Him, proceeds from attach 
ment to itself, which weighs it down and keeps it back." 
Father Gonzalez was one day praising a great 
Servant of God in the presence of Ignatius, and failed 
to express as he wished the high idea which he had 
formed of that holy person. After having extolled, 
one after the other, the virtues which he admired in 
him of whom he was speaking, Gonzalez, as the 
highest praise crowning and surpassing in his opinion 
all the preceding, had ended by these words : " In 
short, he is a man of perpetual prayer." "Why do 
you not add," replied Ignatius, " that he is a man of 
very great mortification ? " As if he had wished to 
say: "You are right and you do not state at all too 
much, but that is not enough. You are omitting the 
essential part. You are leaving in the background 
what I should have liked to see prominently brought 
forward. Do not rest there. Add that this man of 
prayer is also a man of mortification, who labours 
courageously to conquer himself. This expresses all, 
and no more need be said." 



1. Penance ought to be done in such a manner that 
there may be contrition in the heart, confession on the 
lips, and satisfaction in work. The resolution to 
sin no more should be accompanied by an ardent desire 
to serve God ; we ought also to feel a lively sorrow 
because our contrition is not as great as the malice and 
enormity of our sins requires. 

2. Amongst the questions put to Ignatius by Father 
Brandam, before his departure for Portugal, the seventh 
related to the way of making one s confession. "Is it 
better," asked the Father, " to accuse oneself of small 
faults, or to be satisfied with mentioning greater ones, 
in order not to make the confession too long ? " 
Ignatius answered : " He who wishes not to be 
deceived on this point ought to observe on which side 
the enemy attacks him, and how he endeavours to lead 
him to offend God. If he perceives that the devil 
seeks to diminish in him the horror of mortal sin, let 
him take care to seek for the slightest faults which he 
may have fallen into with regard to such sin, and let 
him accuse himself of them in confession. If, on the 
contrary, he feels that the devil is trying to disturb 
him, by making a sin of what is not really so, he should 
not mention his little weakness, let him merely declare 
venial sins, and only the more considerable of them. 
Lastly, if he has already, through God s grace, arrived 


at peace with Him, let him confess his sins briefly r 
without descending to those which are smaller, humbling 
himself nevertheless in God s presence, and considering 
that He Whom venial sin offends is the Infinite Being, 
but remembering also that by an effect of the great 
goodness of God, we are forgiven venial sins, when, 
with sorrow for them, we take holy \vater, when we 
strike our breast," &c. 

3. Neither mortification of the body nor that of the 
passions should be deferred to old age, old age is 
uncertain, and does not allow of severity being used 
towards it. 

4. In the early days after his return to God, Ignatius 
ill-treated his body very roughly in all kinds of ways. 
Some one having met him at Montserrat ventured to 
say to him: "Ignatius, if your relations heard what 
you are doing to your body, what would they say ? " 
" I had rather," answered the Saint, " enter Heaven 
with one eye than fall into Hell with both eyes." 

5. Father Nadal had had much difficulty in making 
up his mind to go through the Exercises ; he did so r 
however, and laid bare his whole conscience to Ignatius. 
The latter, after having heard him, said to him : " As 
we have rejected grace by abusing the powers of our 
body and the faculties of our soul in order to act 
contrary to God s law, in like manner after having 
recovered that grace by penance, let us use our powers 
and faculties to amend our life." 

6. Penance is divided into that which is interior 
and exterior. Interior penance consists in sorrow for 
one s sins, accompanied by a firm resolution not to fall 
again into the same sins nor into any other. Exterior 
penance is a fruit of the former, and consists in 
punishing oneself for one s past faults ; which may be 


practised chiefly in three ways. First, with regard to 
food. As to which it must be remembered that cutting 
off what is superfluous is not penance but temperance. 
That only is penance when we deprive ourselves of 
something which we might properly take ; and, in this 
sense, the more we succeed in cutting off, the greater 
and more praiseworthy is the penance, provided it does 
not go so far as to destroy our strength and to injure 
our health notably. Secondly, with regard to sleep. 
As to the manner of taking it, it should be remarked 
that it is not penance to cut off what only tends to 
gratify our delicacy and our sensuality. There is pen 
ance only in depriving ourselves of part of the things 
which we might properly use ; and, in this sense, the 
more we succeed in cutting off, the better we shall do, 
provided we do not greatly injure health and no notable 
weakness ensues. As to the time to be given to sleep, 
nothing should generally be cut off from what is 
expedient unless, with the view of correcting the evil 
habit of sleeping too much and arriving at a right 
measure. Thirdly, with regard to the body. It consists 
in causing it to suffer sensible pain by wearing hair 
cloth, cords, or iron chains on the flesh ; by taking the 
discipline. . . . What appears to be most suitable and 
least dangerous on this point is, that the pain should 
only be felt by the flesh, and not penetrate to the 
bone so that the penance should cause pain and not 
infirmity. . . . 

7. Exterior penances are used chiefly for three 
purposes: first, as a satisfaction for past sins; secondly, 
in order to overcome oneself, that is to say, in order 
that sensuality may be obedient to reason, and all the 
inferior parts of the soul be more subjected to the 
superior ; thirdly, in order to seek and find some grace 
or gift which a person wishes for and desires : as, for 


example, if he desires to have an interior sorrow for his 
sins, or to weep much for them, or for the pains and 
sufferings which Christ our Lord endured in His 
Passion, or in order to obtain the solution of some 
doubt he is in. 

8. When the malice of the devil, redoubling its 
violence against us, seeks an auxiliary in our evil 
inclinations, and excites them more than usual in order 
to urge us to sin, we should also repel the attacks 
of the enemy, by redoubling our penances, and adding 
some mortifications to those which we are in the habit 
of practising. 

9. If the impulses of a nature not yet subdued often 
draw from us words or actions which belie the resolu 
tions which we have made, we must use more severity 
with ourselves, until we have rendered ourselves com 
pletely masters of such impulses; and a particular 
penance should correspond with each new failing which 
we fall into. 

10. In times of public necessity, or when we wish 
to obtain from God some particular grace, we should, 
after the example of the Saints in all times, use hair 
cloth, fasting, prayer, and watchings. 

1 1 . When the exercitant does not yet find what he 
desires, as, for example, tears, consolations, &c., often 
times it is profitable to make some change in the matter 
of food, sleep, and other ways of doing penance, in 
such a manner as to vary, doing penance for two or 
three days, and for the next two or three days omitting 
it ; for some it becomes to do more penance, others 
less ; and also because oftentimes we omit to do 
penance out of a sensual love and through a false 
judgment, that the human body cannot bear such 
penance without notable infirmity resulting, and because 
sometimes, on the contrary, we do too much penance, 


thinking that the body can sustain it: and since God 
our Lord knows our nature infinitely better than we do, 
often in such changes He grants to each to feel what 
best suits him. 

12. The same penance cannot be assigned to each 
one indiscriminately ; moreover, each should vary his 
penance according to different seasons and circum 
stances. Our body is not our own, it belongs to God, 
and we have to render an account to Him for the 
manner in which we have treated our body, whether 
,by indulging it we have allowed it to fall into evil, or 
whether by treating it too roughly we have rendered it 
incapable of doing what would have been more profit 
able to ourselves and more to the glory of God. 

13. The degree of mortification to employ towards 
the body to subdue it, without going beyond nor 
stopping short of what is suitable, is very difficult to 
determine exactly. Self-love is a deceitful enchanter, 
which represents slight austerities to us as an enormous 
burden, which our health could not bear, and which 
would cost us our life. We must not therefore believe 
our body directly it begins to complain and to rebel, 
nor relieve it immediately of all that is painful to it, 
but exchange this for other penances of no less severity 
than the former, until reason, or a ray of Divine light, 
discloses to us what suits us best. 

14. The mortification of the body ought not to be 
excessive, discretion should regulate watchings, absti 
nence, and other exterior penances and labours which 
are of a nature to injure health, and would hinder 
greater good. 

15. Of the various kinds of penance, those should 
be preferred which afflict the flesh more sensibly 
without so much prejudice to health; such kinds of 


penance have the double advantage over others of 
causing the body more pain and of being able to be 
continued longer. 

1 6. When the flesh, ever ready to throw off the 
yoke, makes some new and unusual effort against 
the spirit, its insolence must be repressed by an. 
increase of penance, by depriving it of what is pleasing 
to it and forcing it to accept what it dislikes, until it 
ceases to mutiny and returns to the way of duty and 
submission. When, however, it is at peace with the 
spirit, or at least maintains the truce imposed upon it,, 
and we are also firmly resolved to suffer death a 
thousand times rather than offend God, it is well to 
moderate our severity, and to use penances which 
weaken the body less, which only deliver it from what 
may fetter its action, and thus render it a servant more 
capable of aiding the spirit, whose operations it too 
often checks and hinders. 

17. We should always suspect the excuses made by 
our body, for it is in the habit of pleading, without any 
real reason, its want of strength, in order to escape 
from penance ; therefore, when it complains of its 
weakness, we must beware of deluding it with the hope 
that we shall yield to its objections, but impose silence 
upon it, by exchanging our present penance for another 
equivalent to it. 

1 8. It is more difficult to subdue the spirit than to 
afflict the flesh. 

19. " It is desirable to strive much more earnestly 
to bring the mind into subjection than to mortify the 
flesh, and to repress the sallies of the soul than to 
break the bones. Although we ought to apply ourselves 
to both these kinds of mortification, there is this 
difference, that inward mortification should be the 



principal, that it should be continual, and that no one 
can lawfulty dispense himself from it, whilst the use of 
exterior mortification ought to be accommodated to 
the exigencies of times, things, and persons." Side by 
side with this thought of the Servant of God, may be 
placed the judicious answer given to Henry IV. by a 
Carthusian when asked by that Prince in what respect 
penance,, such as it is practised in his Order, differed 
from that which the Founder of the Society prescribes 
to his children. " The difference consists in this," said 
the Carthusian : " With us, the flesh is mortified in 
order to subject the mind to God, St. Ignatius, for his 
part, desires the mind to be conquered in order to 
constrain the body to serve God." 

20. The use of extraordinary public penances which 
persons imposed upon themselves of their own accord, 
has been wisely forbidden, either to remind us that 
obedience is better than sacrifices, or to prevent us 
from indulging in vanity. 

21. To vindicate God s glory, Whose rights he had 
so long disregarded, to guard against the troublesome 
artifices of his nature, and to resemble his beloved 
Master, Jesus Christ the Man of Sorrows, more closely, 
Ignatius, in the early days of his conversion, used holy 
cruelties against himself, which are in no way surpassed 
by the most frightful severities of the anchorites of old, 
and up to the close of his life, he never ceased, in so 
far as circumstances would allow, to treat his body as 
an enemy. He did not fail to recommend the use of 
bodily mortification to those who placed themselves 
under his guidance to go through the Spiritual Exer 
cises, and he endeavoured to make them adopt them, 
by putting before them the precious advantages which 
the practice of them procures. Nevertheless, on several 
occasions which we are about to relate, we shall see 


him endeavour rather to moderate and regulate, than* 
excite, in this respect, the willingness of those whom he 
is addressing. We ought not to be surprised at his 
expressing himself thus, because he had before him not 
ordinary Christians, but generous souls, whose ardour 
in embracing exterior penance would easily lead them 
beyond the limits of prudence, and who might thus 
render themselves incapable of a higher good, the 
attainment of which must always be had in view. 

22. If you have a great desire to mortify yourself 
during your time of study, mortify yourself by subduing 
your will, and by subjugating your judgment to the 
control of obedience, rather than by weakening and 
macerating your body to excess. Yet, I would not 
have you think that I condemn certain public mortifi 
cations about which I have been written to, for I know 
that the Saints used such mortifications and other 
similar extravagances, and that they furthered their 
progress : they help not a little in conquering self, and 
in gaining an increase of grace, above all at first ; but 
it is equalty true that, during the course of your studies, 
and when by Divine grace self-love has been overcome, 
I consider it much better to guide yourself in this by 
the measure of moderation which obedience points out 
to you. 

23. Concerning fastings and abstinences, I esteem it 
better, for the glory of God, to preserve and strengthen 
the stomach and the other natural powers than to 
weaken them. For, when one is disposed and firmly 
resolved to die rather than commit deliberately the 
slightest offence against the Divine Majesty, and when 
besides, one is not attacked by any special temptation 
of the devil, the world, or the flesh, exterior mortifica 
tion is no longer so necessary. Now, I am convinced 
that, by Divine grace, your lordship is in the disposition 


which I have just mentioned, and that you have not to 
contend with any particular temptation. I much desire 
that you should imprint this truth upon your soul : that 
soul and body, belonging to your Creator and God, you 
ought to render Him a good account of both, and for 
this reason you ought not to allow bodily nature to 
become enfeebled, because when it is in a state of 
weakness, the spiritual nature can no longer perform 
its operations. For this reason, if, for a certain time, 
I have been pleased to see you fast and practise strict 
abstinence, I could not do so in future, because I 
perceive that these fasts and this abstinence hinder the 
stomach from performing its ordinary functions, and 
even from digesting the most simple food which the 
body needs for its support. I advise you rather to seek 
by every possible means to restore to it its energy, and 
with this object, to eat of whatever is allowed, and as 
often as you feel the need of it, without any scandal to 
others. For, we ought to love our body the more, and 
wish it all the more good, in proportion as it obeys and 
serves the soul better ; and the soul, in its turn, finds 
in the obedience and assistance of the body more 
strength and energy to serve and glorify our Creator 
and Master. 

As to chastising the body, I should be of opinion, 
for the sake of our Lord s interest, to leave off whatever 
draws blood. If hitherto, as I am persuaded that He 
has done in His Divine goodness, this adorable Master 
has given you grace, and a particular attraction for 
that, and for all which I have just mentioned, I do not 
hesitate to affirm, without at present giving proofs for 
what I state, that in future it will be much better for 
you to abandon such practices. Instead of seeking to 
make a little blood flow, seek more immediately our 
Divine Master Himself, I mean His most holy gifts, as 
for instance, the gift of tears which causes you to weep 


by turns over your own sins and those of others, then 
the sight of our Lord s mysteries in this life and the 
other, then the sight and the love of the Divine Persons. 



1. If you have to suffer in any way, either by the 
express will of God, or the permission which He gives 
to the devil, in either case, hope that God will give you 
the victory. 

2. If you consider the reward of eternal life, as we 
ought all to do, you will rest convinced with St. Paul, 
"that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed 
in us," and "that which is at present momentary and 
light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure 
exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." 

3. There is this difference between earthly happi 
ness and that of the Cross of Jesus Christ, that when 
the former is enjoyed it produces disgust, whilst the 
more one drinks of the latter, the greater thirst one has 
to go on drinking. 

4. It has pleased Divine Goodness to call to itself, 
and to remove from this life Sister Louisa, your Sister 
and mine in Jesus Christ. By many signs, and for 
many reasons, I consider it certain that she is enjoying 
in the other life the glory which will endure for ever. 
Let us not cease, however, to remember her in our 
prayers, however poor and unworthy they may be. I 
hope that from Heaven she will assist us and repay us 


with holy usury. For this reason I will not dw T ell upon 
things in this letter in order to console you ; I should 
consider it an injustice to you, because I am persuaded 
that you will conform yourself in everything, as you 
ought to do, to the sovereign and eternal Providence 
Who directs all to His greater glory and ours. 

5. We ought to accept illness as a gift from our 
Creator and God, for it is no less a gift than health. 

6. I hear from our Fathers at Ferrara that God is 
trying you both by sickness and by mental sufferings. 
On receiving this news, I consider it my duty to do the 
only thing which is in my power, in the position in 
which I am. I am visiting you by letters, to remind 
you that the Providence of the good and great Father, 
and of the supremely wise Physician, is not now treat 
ing you differently from the way that it treats the souls 
which it loves most. Indeed, the behaviour of this 
adorable Providence, towards those whom it has 
determined to admit most quickly, after this life, to 
the possession of eternal happiness, is to purify them 
in this world by so much the greater sufferings and 
trials. It will not allow our soul to be fettered by the 
love and the seductions of the world, nor to abandon 
itself to the repose of security. For this reason, those 
whom God loves with a love of predilection, He takes 
special care to detach from passing pleasures, not only 
by the longings for the heavenly country which He 
gives them, but also by the bitterness and sufferings 
of this present life. Yet this bitterness, and these 
sufferings, while detaching our soul, contribute power 
fully as well to the acquisition of a higher degree of 
glory, provided we accept them with patience, and 
with the gratitude which the blessings deserve which 
proceed from a father s love : for all this bitterness 
comes from His love for us, like all the sweetnesses of 


life. Now, if there be any sure means in this world 
of avoiding anguish of mind, it is to endeavour to 
conform our will completely to God s good pleasure. 
For from the moment that God occupies our soul 
entirely, as it is not in the power of any one to take 
from us our treasure against our will, there is no longer 
anything in the accidents of life which should pain or 
trouble us much, since every affliction, whatever be the 
immediate cause of it, proceeds only from the loss of 
a beloved object, or from the dread of such loss. 

7. You tell me of the long illness which you have 
had, of the lengthy sufferings which you have endured, 
and of the internal pain which still continued when 
you wrote to me. Indeed, in thinking of this state of 
illness and suffering, I cannot help feeling it deeply, 
because I wish you all that is for your welfare, and all 
imaginable prosperity as means for employing yourself 
for God s glory and service. Yet, when I consider that 
these infirmities and other temporal losses often come 
to us from God, in order that we may know ourselves 
better, that we may leave to a greater extent the love of 
things created, and that, having clearer light to see 
how short our life is, we may labour more earnestly 
to adorn our soul for the future life which will endure 
for ever ; and when I think that God visits those whom 
He deeply loves with these trials, I can feel neither 
sadness nor sorrow, because I am sure that a Servant 
of God, after an illness, has become to a great extent 
capable of directing and disposing his life to the glory 
of our adorable Master. . . . You tell me how you are 
surrounded by malice, snares, and treachery on every 
side. I am not astonished at it, and even if it were 
much worse, I should not be surprised. For from the 
moment that you resolve to belong entirely to God r 
that you wish it with a firm will, and use all your 



efforts to glorify Him, to honour Him, and to serve 
Him, by this very fact, you declare war against the 
world, you raise the standard against the age, and you 
prepare to fight against what is mighty by embracing 
what is lowly, resolved to accept indifferently hence 
forth elevation and abasement, honour and dishonour, 
riches or poverty, affection or hatred, welcome or 
repulse, in short, glory from the world or every earthly 
insult. We ought not to be much afraid of the affronts 
of this life, since they go no further than words, and 
the whole of them united have not the power to break 
a single hair. As to deceitful, bad, or insulting 
words, they can cause neither trouble nor pain to him 
who seeks only the Cross of Jesus Christ. But if we 
desire to be honoured and glorified by those amongst 
whom we live, we cannot be well-rooted in God, and 
it is impossible for us to remain unwounded when 
affronts are offered us. Whilst I have had pleasure in 
learning that the world insults you, I have felt as much 
pain at the mere thought that under these adversities 
you have sought help and remedy against the pain and 
affliction which they cause you. May the Mother of 
God grant the desire which I form for you ! Provided 
there be in you perfect patience and constancy, because 
you will not cease to have before your eyes the incom 
parably greater insults and ignominies which Jesus 
Christ suffered for us, and provided it be without sin 
on the part of others, I hope that you will have still 
greater humiliations, that you may have continually 
the opportunity of gaining new merit. If we do not 
find that we have this patience, we have much greater 
reason to complain of our sensuality and of our flesh, 
and of not being mortified nor dead to the things of 
the world as we should be, than to blame those who 
heap affronts and ignominy upon us : for they furnish 
us thereby with the means of acquiring treasures much 


more precious than those which man can gain in this 
life, and riches much greater than man can heap up in 
this world. 

8. A prelate, who had been plunged into deep 
desolation by the grievous state of his affairs, had 
written to Ignatius in the hope of obtaining from him 
some little relief in his trouble, and the Saint replied : 
4< Very Rev. Sir, The things of this present life are 
only real blessings in so far as they serve us to acquire 
future beatitude which is eternal, and they are only 
a real misfortune in so far as they are a hindrance to 
the happiness which is prepared for us hereafter. When 
adversity tries us, it enlightens our soul with superior 
light, it detaches us from earth, and rouses us to seek 
a higher dwelling in Heaven, it takes from us every 
wish which has not Jesus, and Jesus crucified, for its 
object, Whose grace fastens us to the Cross now, that 
we may afterwards rise with Him." 

9. Father Araoz having informed Ignatius that God 
had just taken to Himself one of his aunts, the Saint 
replied thus: " Since He Who gave me my good aunt 
has thought proper to take her from me, I must praise 
Him for this as for all else, for He is not less holy, less 
good, nor less merciful when He strikes us than when 
He confers benefits upon us, and He deserves our praise 
and gratitude as much when He sends us illness and 
death as when He grants us health and life. Nothing 
should be loved except in proportion as it pleases His 
most wise and just will. Praised be therefore this most 
holy will which has thus procured His glory, and may 
God deign to glorify Himself more and more in us day 
by day and in all things ! " 



1. In order that contradiction may never frighten 
us, nor make us draw back, we should go straight to 
our end, without allowing ourselves to be hindered by 
the opposition of our adversaries. Persecution will 
never be wanting to us ; if it were to cease, it would 
be because we had failed in doing our duty. Our 
Society has not been established by human means, 
and it ought neither to sustain nor develop itself by 
such means, still less have they power to ruin it or 
place it in peril. 

2. If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, 
it is a sign of the great holiness to which He desires 
you to attain. Are you desirous to become a great 
saint, ask God to send you many sufferings. The 
flame of Divine love never rises higher than when it is 
fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite 
charity of the Saviour uses to consummate His 
sacrifice. All the pleasures of the world, all the 
honey which can be gathered from the flowers of 
earth, are nothing in comparison with the sweetness 
which is caused by the gall and vinegar offered to 
Jesus Christ, that is, hard and painful things endured 
for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ. 

3. Persecution is like a fan which excites our virtue ; 
if, which God forbid, it should cease, our virtue would 
languish, and we should no longer fulfil our obligations 
as we ought. 


4. It seems to me that Divine Goodness wishes to 
give you a very complete and abundant reward in its 
Kingdom for the service which you render it, since, by 
the good works, from which others usually receive 
consolation and favour, even from men, you have only 
reaped troubles and contradictions which are truly 

5. When Ignatius was enduring great sufferings at 
Barcelona, and was confined to his bed in consequence 
of the ill-treatment which his zeal for the honour of 
Jesus Christ and for the conversion of sinners had 
brought upon him, a great many people came to see 
him, and showed their sorrow at finding him reduced 
to such a state. For his part, considering himself 
more to be congratulated than pitied, he replied : "I 
have never been so happy as I am now, when, after 
the example of my God, I am perhaps going to die for 
my brethren." 

6. When Ignatius was in prison at Alcala, some 
persons of high rank hastened to visit him and offered 
to use their endeavours to obtain his release. He 
thanked them for their kindness, saying: " He for the 
love of Whom I have been imprisoned here is well able 
to deliver me when He sees fit." He constantly spoke 
of his happiness in suffering, and while hearing him 
express himself thus, the chief " professor of Holy 
Scripture at the University let the hour for his lesson 
slip by without perceiving it ; hastening to his class, 
and finding his pupils waiting for him in the court, he 
said to them as one beside himself: " I have just seen 
Paul in fetters." 

7. What had occurred at Alcala was repeated at 
Salamanca. There also the apostolic labours of the 
Saint, who, while pursuing the course of his studies, 
employed himself with ardour and success in winning 



souls to God, raised up adversaries against him. He 
was thrown into prison and his feet were chained. 
Moreover, he was fastened to another prisoner, so that 
he could not move without dragging his companion 
with him. As at Alcala, numbers of persons came to 
see him. Touched with pity at seeing that he had only 
the ground for a bed and a seat, some people succeeded 
in procuring for him a little alleviation. He tried in 
vain to dissuade them from so doing, and being 
unsuccessful, he said to them : " You pretend that 
you are my friend, but you cannot love me, since you 
deprive me of my pleasures. If you knew what 
happiness there is in suffering, you would deem me 
deserving of envy rather than of commiseration." 

8. Ignatius imparted his own high esteem for suffer 
ings endured in God s service to those who came into 
contact with him. When he was detained prisoner at 
Salamanca, two young men who had attached them 
selves to him were arrested on his account, and also 
thrown into prison, but into a different prison. One 
night the other prisoners forced open the doors of the 
prison and escaped. The disciples of Ignatius might 
have done likewise, but never thought of it, so deep 
.an impression had this favourite maxim of their master 
made upon them : " Tribulations endured for the sake 
of Jesus Christ ought to be counted amongst God s 
greatest blessings." 

9. The zeal displayed by Ignatius in Spain had 
stirred up much opposition and many persecutions 
against him. During the early days of his stay in 
Paris it was quite the contrary ; contradictions had 
suddenly ceased as if by enchantment. One of his 
friends made the remark to him and said : " Are you 
not struck as I am at the change which has taken 
place in your affairs ? Those who used to attack an.d 


persecute you in every way are now your panegyrists,, 
What does such a sudden and unexpected change 
mean?" "Why are you surprised at it?" replied 
Ignatius. The cause of my present tranquillity is 
easy to discover. Just now, being as yet ignorant of 
the language of the country, I am obliged to be silent,, 
and the world is silent too. I remain in repose, and so. 
does the world, but by and bye, when I emerge from 
the camp possessed of arms, all Paris will rise against 
me, and you will see me obliged to defend myself on all 

10. Ignatius was on his way to Rome with his 
companions to solicit the Sovereign Pontiff for the 
erection, as a Religious Order, of their little Society. 
He had long entertained the wish to be admitted in 
some manner into the household of Jesus, and to form 
part of His family in the character of a servant. He 
begged the Blessed Virgin and the Eternal Father 
earnestly by turns, to attach him to the Person of 
Jesus in a special manner, to grant him some office 
near His Divine Son, and to place him with Him 
(Ut eum cum Christo filio suo poneref). Filled with these 
thoughts, he left his children for a moment, and 
entered a ruined chapel by the roadside, to commend 
himself to Heaven. Our Lord, bearing the Cross r 
appeared to him with the Heavenly Father. The 
Heavenly Father looked at him kindly, then, turning 
towards His Divine Son, commended Ignatius to His 
special protection, saying: U I wish you to take this 
man for your servant." On His side, our Lord looked 
down upon Ignatius with unspeakable kindness, and 
addressed to him distinctly these encouraging words : 
" I wish you to be My servant. I will be favourable to- 
you and yours at Rome." The Saint, filled with joy,, 
rejoined his companions and said to them: "I know not 


what sufferings await us in Rome. I know not whether 
we shall be crucified there or put to death on the rack ; 
but I am certain of this, that Jesus Christ will be pro 
pitious. Let us then proceed confidently and joyfully, 
and be assured that whatever may be the cross pre 
pared for us there, Jesus will never be wanting to aid 
us in carrying it, and His help will be more powerful 
than the united efforts of all our enemies." He then 
related to them the vision which he had just seen. 

11. Ignatius was firmly convinced that persecution 
is a sure pledge of final success in all that is under 
taken for the honour of God. This made him say: 
" Of all bad weather what we ought to dread most is a 
calm, and the greatest danger we can incur is not from 
having adversaries, but from having none." 

12. Ignatius valued so highly the persecutions of 
which he had been the object, and the chains with 
which he had been loaded for the cause of Jesus Christ, 
that he had no difficulty in saying that " if all the good 
things created by God were placed in the balance, and 
in the opposite scale were to be found prisons, chains, 
and insults, all those good things would have no weight 
in his eyes in comparison with these so-called evils." 
He added : " Nothing created can procure for the soul 
a joy which equals the joy of the Holy Ghost, that 
most pure joy which God sheds into the heart of those 
who, from love to Him, have suffered long and 
severely." He answered a Father who asked him 
which was the shortest road to attain perfection : 
" Suffer much and long for the love of Jesus Christ. 
Ask God for this grace, for He grants much to whom 
He gives this ; and this one blessing includes others 
which are very precious and without number." He 
seems to have solicited and obtained this favour for 



himself, for, as Father Lainez often remarked, when 
his first companions were separated from him, labour 
ing with all their might, each doing his own part, they 
were tolerably tranquil ; but as soon as the Saint 
rejoined them, and they worked together, some great 
tempest soon burst upon them. 

13. When the terrible storm burst upon the 
Society at Toledo, Ignatius, speaking of it to Father 
Ribadeneira, said to him quite calmly, and with a 
cheerful countenance: "I have just received a letter 
which brings me good news," and telling him its 
contents, he added: "We ought to regard this perse 
cution as great happiness, since we have done nothing 
to provoke it. It is an evident sign that our Lord 
will cause us to reap great fruit in that city. The 
harvests which cover the earth are more promising 
and abundant in proportion as the preceding winter 
has been severe, and it is admitted that the Society 
has produced more abundant fruit in those places 
where its members have suffered most." 

14. Violent as the storm was, of which we have just 
been speaking, at Toledo, that which broke out shortly 
after at Saragossa, burst with still greater fury upon 
the children of Ignatius. Upon hearing of it, Ignatius 
showed the same joy, and the same confidence in the 
final result. 

15. The sentiments expressed by Ignatius on these 
two occasions were not those of a passing heroism, 
but of his whole life ; they had become so natural to 
him that, whenever opportunity offered, they mani 
fested themselves almost without his being aware of 
it. This was deposed upon oath at Madrid by Father 
Ribadeneira when cited as a witness during the process 
of his canonization in 1595. 


16. The countenance of Ignatius was always the 
same, perfectly calm and peaceful ; if, however, it 
sometimes showed more joy than usual, it was when 
some great and sudden trial had come upon him. 

17. On the other hand, when, humanly speaking, 
all smiled upon Ignatius, when his plans encountered 
no serious obstacle, which, indeed, very rarely happened, 
this entire absence of opposition to which he was so 
little accustomed, and these successes too easily 
obtained for his liking, were to him suspicious, and 
seemed to him an evil augury ; he was troubled at it. 
One day when he had received good news from several 
places of the labours of the Fathers and of the develop 
ment of their works, whilst all around him were con 
gratulating themselves and talked only of offering 
solemn acts of thanksgiving to God, he was heard to 
sigh, and it was noticed with surprise that the usual 
serenity of his countenance was slightly clouded. His 
sudden sadness on such an occasion could not be 
understood. He explained the cause of it to Father 
Gonzalez, saying: "There is one Province of the 
Society which makes me anxious." He added: 
4t Everything is going on prosperously there. Its 
members possess the favour of the great and of the 
people. I have every reason to fear that some are not 
doing their duty there, and that God is not served as 
He ought to be." This was because where others 
thought only of present prosperity, he from the heights 
of his soul, looking beyond the present, discovered the 
possible cause of great future catastrophes. It was 
one of his principles: "No one has a right to feel 
sure that happiness will always be his, and when all 
goes well with any one, that person has special cause 
for fear." 


1 8. The following incident has not been met with 
in the biographers of Ignatius, and therefore we cannot 
vouch for its absolute authenticity ; we quote it con 
fidently nevertheless on the good authority of oral 
tradition. During the last years of the life of the 
Servant of God, some of his children found him 
plunged in deep recollection. He seemed to be praying 
with redoubled fervour. They were anxious to know 
what he was soliciting so earnestly. " Father," they 
said, " what are you doing ? " "I am praying for you," 
he replied. " And what are you asking ?" He answered : 
" A signal favour, which I earnestly hope that God will 
grant you." " What grace is that ? " "I implore God 
never to allow persecution to be wanting to you ; it is 
profitable for you ; you need it to keep you right, and 
to prevent negligence and relaxation from obtaining an 
entrance amongst you." 



i. God, Who destined Ignatius to become one of 
the most illustrious masters of the spiritual life, chose 
to make him acquire, by his experience upon himself, 
and as it were, at his own expense, that consummate 
art of direction of which his brethren were one day to 
reap the precious fruit. Indeed, the Servant of God 
was, by turns, engaged with struggling with the various 
difficulties which persons desirous of arriving at per 
fection usually encounter at different stages. With 
the knowledge gained from his own personal experience 
he was able to lead a large number of favoured souls 
to great holiness. Following him upon the field of 
battle, where he had to resist, one after the other, and 
sometimes all at once, the world, the flesh, and the 
devil, we see him already practising the wise counsels 
which he is to give to others as occasion requires, when 
he sees them engaged in struggles similar to those 
which he had first had to maintain. His counsels 
are in reality counsels which have been lived, if we 
may be allowed the expression. Here especially, 
therefore, everything should be observed in him. His 
actions teach no less than his words, and he sets before 
us at once the precept and the example, the theory and 
the practice, of the way by which we should resist 

Temptations are generally of two kinds, which 
Scripture gives us to understand when it represents 


to us the great tempter, the devil, sometimes as a lion 
and sometimes as a dragon ; it characterizes thus the 
double tactics of our enemy in the fierce warfare which 
he wages against us unceasingly. Sometimes, and 
especially at the beginning of a conversion, he does 
not take the trouble to conceal himself, but comes 
forward and assails us boldly, urging us impudently to 
evil, and turning us away openly from good ; this is the 
lion. Sometimes, on the other hand, he spreads his 
snares for us insidiously, he glides along in the dark 
ness, he crawls silently, he disguises himself, and, 
under the appearance of some good which he suggests, 
he endeavours to deceive our inexperience, and to use 
even our good dispositions against us ; he then acts as 
a dragon, a serpent. He attacks in the latter way 
principally those who have generously resolved to give 
themselves to God. 

When the tempter shows himself, there is at least 
no difficulty in establishing his identity ; we know that 
it is he, consequently our duty is clear. There is no 
room for hesitation, and the temptation must at once 
be repelled with indignation and contempt ; without 
doubt, courage is necessary for this, but courage only. 
When, on the contrary, the tempter conceals his 
advance, and approaches noiselessly, when he dis 
simulates his malice, and even transforms himself into 
an angel of light, as Scripture also says, our position 
is much more difficult. Courage is still indispensable, 
but it no longer suffices. Before resisting, we must 
first have recognized, under the features of the friend 
who protests his devotion, the perfidious enemy who has 
sworn our ruin. Many Christians, even amongst those 
animated by excellent intentions, who would have 
resisted valiantly, and come off victorious, if they had 
known sooner with whom they had to deal, are con 
stantly overcome because they have allowed themselves 


to be deceived by the tempter whom they did not 
suspect to be near them. The devil s tricks are more 
to be feared than his open attacks, and it is most 
important that we should be made aware of them. 
Ignatius, who had studied them and penetrated their 
depths in his repeated struggles with Hell, gives us 
salutary teaching concerning them ; and doubtless it 
was partly on account of his having thus rendered 
Lucifer incapable of deceiving at his pleasure souls 
of good-will, that he showed his rage when the name 
of Ignatius was pronounced, and took every opportu 
nity of declaring by the mouth of possessed persons, 
that Ignatius was his great and implacable enemy, the 
most formidable adversary of his time on earth, and 
that he hated him with unconquerable hate. 

2. The usual plan of the enemy with regard to those 
who readily commit sin, and who go from worse to 
worse, is to offer them the appearance of pleasure, 
filling their imagination with what flatters the flesh 
and the senses, in order to retain them in and to 
plunge them deeper in their disorders. The good 
Spirit, on His side, acts towards them in a directly 
opposite manner, with the object of withdrawing them 
from evil : He stirs up trouble and remorse in their 
conscience, by causing them to feel the reproaches of 
reason. In persons who, on the contrary, are striving 
to purify themselves from their sins, and who go on 
better and better in God s service, the bad and the 
good spirit act in an opposite manner. It is peculiar 
to the bad spirit to cause them sadness and anxiety, 
to place obstacles in the way, disquieting the soul by 
false reasons, so that it may make no further progress. 
It is peculiar to the good spirit to inspire it with 
courage and strength, to give it consolation, tears, 
inspirations, and peace, smoothing and removing 


every impediment, that it may make progress in good 

3. If you notice carefully you will find that in the 
past, when you committed more offences, and were less 
desirous of serving God, you were neither so much 
tempted nor troubled by the serpent who is always, 
seeking to injure us. This was because your way of 
life at that time pleased him, whilst he cannot endure 
what he now sees in you. Since you ask me to write 
to you frankly what I think before God, I tell you that 
you will be fortunate if you are able to retain what you 

4. Think, above all, that God loves you, which I do 
not doubt, and think only of returning Him love for 
love. Do not torment yourself about bad, immodest, 
or sensual thoughts, nor at your wretchedness, or 
lukewarmness, when you feel them against your will. 
St. Peter and St. Paul themselves could not escape from 
suffering this wholly or in part. If we do not obtain 
all, we at least gain much in paying no heed to these 
temptations. As I shall not be saved by the good 
works of good angels, neither shall I be damned by 
the bad thoughts and weaknesses which bad angels, 
the world, and the flesh put before me. God only 
requires from me one thing, that is, that my soul may 
be entirely subject to His Divine Majesty. The soul 
being thus subjected, it ensues that the body, willingly, 
or by force, is conformed to the Divine will, in which 
consists our chief combat, and the good pleasure of 
supreme and eternal goodness. 

5. God not only reserves an everlasting recompense 
for those who triumph over the attacks of the devil, 
but even in this life He makes us stronger in the very 
virtues against which we have been most violently 


tempted, and He compensates us with an abundance 
of heavenly pleasures for the labours and sufferings 
caused by the struggles we have had to maintain. 

6. It is of great importance to resist the devil as 
soon as he begins to attack us, and victory over 
temptations almost always depends upon the manner 
in which we sustain the first onset. Ignatius expresses 
this as follows : " The enemy resembles a woman, inas 
much as he is weak in spite of himself, but strong in 
will ; for as it is in the nature of a woman, quarrelling 
with a man, to lose courage and to take to flight when 
he shows himself undaunted ; and as, on the other 
hand, if the man begins to take to flight and to lose 
courage, the rage, the spite, and the ferocity of the 
woman become intense, and exceed all bounds : so in 
the same manner it is in the nature of our enemy to 
become powerless and to lose courage (while his 
temptations take to flight), when the person who is 
exercising himself in spiritual matters shows a daunt 
less front to the temptations of the enemy, acting in 
a manner diametrically opposed to them ; for this 
reason the Apostle St. James says : Resist the devil, 
and he will fly from you. On the other hand, if the 
exercitant commences to fear and to lose courage in 
sustaining temptation, there is no beast so fierce on 
the face of the earth as the enemy of our human nature 
in prosecuting with intense malice his wicked designs: " 
for this reason Job says truly: " There is no power on 
earth equal to his." 

7. We should consider attentively the conduct of 
the enemy. When he exalts us, we must abase our 
selves, enumerating our sins and our deserts. When 
he abases and depresses us, we must raise ourselves 
by lively faith and hope in our Lord, recapitulating 
the blessings which we have received from Him, and 


considering how lovingly and willingly He waits to 
save us. As to the enemy, what is truth or falsehood 
to him? He has but one object, and that is to overcome 
us. ... If the enemy puts justice before me, I will at 
once bring forward mercy ; if mercy, I will show him 
justice. We must proceed thus if we do not wish to 
be deceived, so that the deceiver may himself be 
deceived, relying on the authority of Scripture which 
tells us to beware of allowing ourselves to be seduced 
by a humility which becomes foolishness. 

8. When the devil cannot withdraw a soul from 
the state of life which it has embraced in order to serve 
God, one of his artifices is to place before a person s 
eyes another state of life, holy indeed, but far removed 
or at least different from his own, that the love of 
novelty may lead him to change, and that, adopting 
a kind of life which seems to him good, he may quit 
that in which God would have him, and which is best 
for him. 

He does much the same concerning pious deeds : 
in order to persuade us to forsake the good which we 
have been doing, he stirs us up to attempt things which 
are apparently greater and more useful. To prevail 
upon us to do so, he represents such things as very 
easy, and rouses ardent desires for them ; but as soon 
as he sees us delight in them, and apply ourselves 
seriously to them, he immediately disgusts us with them 
by the difficulties which he had previously concealed 
and which he then causes to appear insurmountable. 

Ignatius had often to make use of this wise maxim 
with his children and with strangers. The following 
is an example of it. When he returned to Spain to 
set in order the domestic affairs of his first companions, 
he went to visit, at Segovia, Dom John de Castro, who 
.had formerly been his master at Paris, and who, 


touched by his conversation and example, had retired 
to the Certosa of Val-Christ, where he was going 
through his novitiate. Ignatius, knowing him to be a 
man of God, related to him at considerable length the 
project which he had conceived of founding his new 
Society, and asked his advice about this important 
affair. Castro did not immediately give his opinion : 
but having spent the whole night in prayer, he left his 
cell at daybreak in a transport of joy which he could 
not moderate, and went in haste to tell Ignatius that 
his undertaking was the work of God ; that it would 
succeed in spite of the contradiction of men, and that 
the whole of Christendom would derive great advantages 
from it. " Moreover," he said, " to show you that I 
am not speaking at random, I offer myself to you for 
your companion and disciple, I place myself entirely 
at your disposal, only too happy if I can aid you in 
some manner in carrying out your design ; as I am as 
yet but a novice here, I am not bound to remain." 
" By no means, Reverend Father," replied Ignatius, 
" continue what you have holily begun, and remain 
firm in your vocation, only be so kind as always to 
favour me with the help of your prayers, as I promise 
to remember you in mine as long as I live." 

Some time after, when the Society was already 
established, two of its members, Fathers Andrew 
Oviedo and Francis Onfroy, seduced by the charms 
of contemplation, desired to withdraw from the turmoil 
of active life in order to spend six or seven years in 
a desert, that, as they thought, they might arrive more 
surely at perfection. This idea had taken such strong 
possession of them, that they had earnestly entreated 
Ignatius to give them leave to carry it out, whilst 
leaving it to his decision. The Servant of God, seeing 
the snare into which these two religious, though men 
of great virtue, ran the risk of falling, wrote a most 


energetic letter about them to St. Francis Borgia, who 
was at that time still in the world, and who was 
somewhat disposed to think the same. This is part of 
what he says : " If what they write to us is true, it 
seems that the two Fathers, B. and C. (Ignatius 
designated them by these initials), have both found 
the one in a greater, and the other in a less degree, the 
desert which they sought, and that they are preparing 
to find another which will certainly be greater, unless 
they both humble themselves, and submit to be guided 
according to their profession. It is plain that their 
disease must positively be cured. . . . Your grace can 
effect much in this matter by your presence and 
authority. For this reason, considering only what 
conscience obliges me to, I declare to your grace that 
I firmly believe, without any room for doubt, and I 
protest, before the tribunal of Jesus Christ our Creator 
and Lord, Who is to judge us for eternity, that these 
two religious are out of the true road, walking some 
times in the path, and at others outside it, seduced by 
the father of lies, whose office is to tell, or even suggest 
one or more truths, so as to end by an imposture, 
and deceive us by it. I therefore beg your grace, by 
the love and respect due to God, to commend all this 
matter first to His Divine goodness, then to make it the 
subject of most serious consideration, to be watchful, 
and to see that the necessary measures are taken." 
This letter opened St. Francis Borgia s own eyes, and 
gave him perfect quiet. 

9. Opening the heart is one of the most efficacious 
means of disconcerting and putting to nought the 
malice of the tempter: "He resembles also a false 
lover, inasmuch as he wishes to remain hidden and 
undiscovered ; for as this false man, speaking with an 
evil purpose, and paying court to the daughter of some 



honest father, or the wife of some honest man, wishes 
his conversations and insinuations to be kept secret, 
and on the contrary, is much displeased when the 
daughter discovers to her father, or the wife to her 
husband, his deceitful words and his depraved intention, 
because he easily infers that he cannot succeed in the 
designs he has conceived ; so in the same way, when 
the enemy of our human nature obtrudes in a just soul 
his wiles and deceits, he wishes and desires that they 
be furtively received and kept secret, and he is very 
displeased when they are discovered to a good confessor 
or some other spiritual person who knows his frauds 
and deceptions, because he knows that all his malice is 
rendered powerless as soon as his attempts are exposed 
and made known. 

10. The devil acts as a military chief does who 
wishes to obtain possession of a place where he expects 
to find rich booty, Such a leader pitches his camp, 
reconnoitres the place, calculates the forces at his 
disposal, and then attacks it on what he considers the 
weakest side. The enemy of human nature does the 
same. When he desires to make himself master of 
a soul, he begins by studying it carefully, he prowls 
round, and examines on all sides its theological, 
cardinal, and moral virtues ; and when he has dis 
covered the part which is weakest or least well guarded, 
he directs his batteries against it, and assaults it there. 
He strengthens himself by our natural inclinations, he 
interweaves false notions with our ruling passion, and 
he turns to account our present disposition, whether 
good or bad, to lead us to extremities. If he has to 
deal with a person whose conscience is already too lax, 
he makes it still more so ; if such a person commits 
sins upon sins unconcerned as to their gravity, he does 
all he can to make venial sin seem nothing to him, to 


make mortal sin appear venial, and the most serious 
faults trifling. If, on the contrary, he finds a person 
with a delicate and timid conscience, which is not 
in itself a fault, as he sees such a person carefully 
avoiding not only mortal sins and venial sins, but 
also endeavouring to keep his soul far away from the 
resemblance of the least fault, defect, or imperfection, 
he tries to embarrass such a conscience, by troubling 
it, by representing that to be sin which is not so, and 
by making it see faults where there is really perfection. 
His object in so doing, is to afflict us, to sow anxiety 
in our soul, to upset us, to drive us to extremities, to 
take away our reason, and to make us despair. Often, 
when he does not succeed in making us sin, and has 
lost the hope of so doing, he endeavours at least to 
torment us. 

11. The devil sometimes tempts and torments men 
with such violence that they seem to have lost the use 
of reason, and they attribute to nature or to disease, 
what is really the effect of temptation. When the 
devil wishes to attack any one and trouble him most 
maliciously, he chooses the night time, watching for 
the moment when he whom he desires to overthrow 
shall awake, that he may put before him when alone, 
and before he is provided with holy thoughts, bad and 
improper thoughts. It is very useful for him who is 
deeply troubled by temptation to have some one always 
with him to support and to protect him, by remind 
ing him of the truths of the faith ; in this way, the 
numerous assailants of the infernal cohorts will be 
opposed by numerous auxiliaries, whose efforts will 
put to flight the common enemy, as one nail is driven 
out with another. 

12. The enemy of salvation causes you to err in 
two things ; not indeed in such a way as to make you 


fall into faults which are sin, and which remove you 
far from God ; but he causes you to fall into trouble 
and keeps you from greater perfection in God s service, 
and from greater peace in your soul. First, he puts 
before you a false humility, and urges you to embrace 
it ; secondly, he inspires you with intense fear, by which 
you are too much hindered and taken up. 

As to the first, the devil s usual plan with regard 
to those who wish to serve God and who are beginning 
to do so, is to surround them with difficulties and 
obstacles ; this is, as it were, the first weapon with 
which he tries to wound them. He says to each : 
-" How will you be able to spend your whole life in 
such severe penance, without the society of relations 
or friends, without the riches which you possess ; how 
will you be able to endure such a solitary life, without 
even ever enjoying a little rest ? Can you not save 
yourself in some other way, without so many dangers ? " 
He gives us to understand by the combats and trials 
which he makes us foresee, that we shall have to live a 
longer life than any man ever lived ; and he removes at 
the same time from our mind the spiritual joys and 
great consolations which God is wont to give to those 
who serve Him. 

If the new servant of Jesus Christ overcomes all 
these hindrances, choosing to be willing to suffer with 
his Creator and Lord, suddenly the enemy endeavours 
to wound him with the second arm, that is, with pride 
or vainglory, making him think that there is in him 
much goodness and holiness, and placing him higher 
than he deserves. 

If the servant of God resists this arrow, by 
humbling and abasing himself, and by rejecting the 
favourable opinion which the tempter wished to give 
him of himself, then the enemy employs the third 
weapon, which is that of false humility. Seeing the 


servant of God so good and humble, that whilst per 
forming all that God commands him to do, he regards 
himself as completely useless, that he considers his 
failings, and is free from vainglory, he puts it into 
his head that if he happens to speak of any of the 
favours which God has done him, of works, resolu 
tions, or desires, he sins through another kind of 
vainglory, because he speaks in his own favour. 
Thus, he leaves no stone unturned to prevent him 
from speaking of the graces which he has received 
from his Master, lest by so doing he should produce 
some fruit, either in others or in himself; for the 
enemy fears that through hearing these graces spoken 
of, others will believe in them and derive profit. In 
this way, directly he sees us humble, he endeavours 
to inspire us with a false humility, that is, with an 
excessive and faulty humility. What you say shows 
such a humility only too plainly. For after having 
related some weaknesses and fears which are calculated 
to make known the state of your soul, you say : " I am 
a poor man ; it seems to me that I wish to serve our 
Lord Jesus Christ." You dare not say: "I wish to 
serve our Lord Jesus Christ," or : " Our Lord gives me 
the wish to serve Him." But you say: "It seems to 
me that I wish." If you notice well, these wishes 
to serve our Lord Jesus Christ do not proceed from 
yourself, but are the gift of this adorable Master; 
consequently, when you say: "Our Lord has given 
me earnest desires to serve Him," you praise our Lord 
Himself, because you proclaim the gift which He has 
bestowed upon you, and you glory in that gift, and not 
in yourself, as you do not attribute this grace to 
yourself. . . . Consider attentively how the martyrs,, 
when brought before idolatrous judges, said that they 
were the followers of Jesus Christ. And you, in face 
of the enemy of all human nature, when you are thus. 


tempted by him, when he wishes to deprive you of the 
strength which our Lord gives you, and to render you 
so weak and fearful, by his snares and his deceits, 
you dare not say that you desire to serve our Lord. 
That is not enough. You ought to say and confess 
fearlessly that you are His slave and servant, and that 
you will die rather than forsake His service. 

13. The great importance which Ignatius attached 
to the consideration of the end of man is sufficiently 
well known ; by it he begins the series of his Spiritual 
Exercises, and the title which he gives to it is character 
istic. He calls it, First Principle and Foundation. But 
it has not perhaps been sufficiently noticed that before 
making it his great means of leading others to per 
fection, he had himself been its first conquest ; it was, 
in reality, this consideration which determined him to 
become a saint, and by it he conquered the many 
temptations by which the devil, the world, and flesh 
and blood strove to keep him back. His conversion 
was laborious ; it was not effected in a moment, under 
the influence of violent emotion, and in a transport of 
enthusiastic exaltation; it was, on his part, the fruit 
of most serious meditations, and his will did not yield 
until his reason had convinced it of the obligation it 
was under of surrendering. 

Carried in a dying state to the Castle of Loyola, 
after the capitulation of Pampeluna, he seemed about 
to expire, and had just received the last sacraments. 
But St. Peter, in whose honour he had formerly com 
posed a poem, and who, no doubt, interested himself 
ever after in the preservation of a man destined to 
become one of the most intrepid champions of the 
Church and of the Holy See, appeared to him and cured 
him. Nevertheless, whilst restoring him to health, the 
Apostle had left him lame. This only half satisfied 


Ignatius, who was still filled with vain, worldly thoughts. 
The ungraceful lameness which remained upset his pro 
jects. He wished to get rid of it at any price, and 
placed himself again in the hands of the surgeons. 
The latter tortured him as they chose, but without 
much success, and he was obliged to remain in bed. 
The time appeared very long to such an active nature 
as his ; to beguile his weariness, he asked for some of 
the romances of chivalry, the reading of which had 
hitherto been his delight. Although the library at the 
castle was not wanting in such books, none could be 
found, and for want of something else, they brought 
two works in the Castilian language, the Flowers of 
the Saints, and the Life of our Lord by Ludolph the 
Carthusian. God s design was in all this. 

Ignatius turned over the leaves of these books 
carelessly, and at first read some passages without 
any pleasure, nevertheless, he began insensibly to like 
them, and ended by becoming so much interested that 
he spent whole days in studying them. The effect 
which they produced upon him was great astonish 
ment and lively admiration. A new kind of greatness, 
whose existence he had not suspected, and which easily 
appeared to him very superior to the only one which 
he had hitherto known, revealed itself to him. He 
applied this to himself, and he asked himself why 
he had not the courage to imitate such great models. 
He said to himself: " One had only a stone for his bed, 
another encircled his loins with an iron chain and wore 
haircloth next his skin, another spent the night in 
prayer, another only broke his long fast by taking a 
few raw herbs, another buried himself alive in the 
depths of a cave, another exposed himself almost 
naked to the rain, the cold, and the sun, undertaking 
distant pilgrimages. Were these men made of bronze 
or of marble, that they did not feel nor complain ? . . . 


If, on the contrary, they had the same nature as myself, 
could not I do what they did ? They had sensibility, 
and yet they practised chastity. They were illustrious 
by birth. Heaven had bestowed upon them great quali 
ties. They despised honours, and all that the world 
esteems. They had nothing and yet they were happy. 
In order to be joyful and contented in the midst of such 
privations, to trample under foot worldly things, they 
must have possessed some priceless treasure. To make 
such a life bearable, they must have tasted unknown 
pleasures drawn from some hidden source. What were 
these delights? It is probable that they must be 
enjoyed in order to be known, and that one must 
have experienced them in order to appreciate them. 
... But if I also were to adopt this life of penance, 
if I were to go barefoot, to wear a sack and to gird 
: myself with a cord, ... if I were to expose myself to 
-the ridicule and insults of the world, ... if I were 
to withdraw to a distant desert to live there only for 
God and for myself, if I were to mortify this wretched 
body so as to render myself master of it and so far 
discharge the debts which I have unhappily contracted 
who holds me back ? What will the world offer me 
in return for my service ? Shall I not pay too much 
for what it may seem to give ? Shall I not soon repent 
having concluded such a bargain ? Even if I were to 
obtain all that I desire, shall I not have to leave it 
soon ? ... If I had suffered for God all that I have 
voluntarily undergone in order to win the favour of 
men, what a place should I not have merited now 
among the saints ? But as it only needs that to be a 
saint, it rests with me to become one." 

Unfortunately these good impulses gave place to 
others of an opposite kind, and the tempter strove 
to tear from the heart of the Servant of God the 
salutary inspirations which began to penetrate it. 


At one time he revived his military ardour and the 
thirst for glory which had always devoured him, at 
another he roused his pride by causing him to hear 
the ridicule which the world would not fail to indulge 
in at his expense. " What will they think," he 
whispered to him, quite low, "what will they say? 
Doubtless they will repeat on all sides that Ignatius 
de Loyola, having failed to defend Pampeluna, and 
no longer daring to appear in public, has become a 
monk, in order to be forgotten, and has concealed 
himself in a cave in the depths of the forests that his 
want of courage may not be brought up against him." 
At the same time, all the vanities which had 
formerly seduced him crowded back upon him. One 
of them, above all, absorbed him completely, and he 
remained plunged in it for several hours without per 
ceiving the lapse of time. At a later time, humbling 
himself for his weakness, he related these critical 
circumstances of his life to Father Gonzalez. Like 
most of the gallants of his time, when chivalry still 
exercised such a powerful influence over the ideas and 
habits of the young nobility, he loved a lady belonging 
to the Court. In itself there was nothing blameworthy 
in his affection ; together with elevated thoughts, it 
inspired him with the desire to signalize himself and 
preserved him from numerous falls, at an age and in 
a profession in which it is easy to be led into disorder. 
Still, in order to devote himself entirely to God, as he 
was strongly prompted to do, it was necessary to give 
up the enchanting dream which he had cherished so 
long, and such a sacrifice seemed to him beyond his 
strength. In his blindness, far from thinking of 
disengaging himself, he would not even understand 
that what he aspired to could not be realized on 
account of the difference in position. " He was not 
thinking of a countess, nor of a duchess," they are his 


own words, " but of a person of still higher rank." 
He thus persisted in hoping against all hope, and he 
was completely occupied in imagining what was calcu 
lated to attract the attention and merit the favour of 
her, the thought of whom never left him ; he sought 
by what means he could have himself taken to the 
place where she lived, and how he would present 
himself before her ; he taxed his wits to find choice 
terms to make her accept his homage, and he asked 
himself by what new exploits he should succeed in 
pleasing her ; and by these artifices the world was 
regaining its hold upon him. 

Divine mercy, on its side, would not consent to be 
thus deprived of a conquest which gave hopes of many 
more ; it returned to the charge to regain him ; it 
skilfully brought back Ignatius to his reading, which 
revived in his soul the design of forsaking all to give 
himself to God. These alternations of generous flights 
and grievous weakness, succeeded each other unremit 
tingly, the struggle continued, and it was difficult to 
foresee the issue. At last, grace made a supreme 
effort, and gained the victory for ever. 

The attention of the Servant of God was suddenly 
attracted to an interior phenomenon which repeated 
itself regularly with the persistent periodicity of a law. 
The two orders of objects which by turns occupied 
his mind, made very different impressions upon him. 
Beginning almost in the same manner, they invariably 
ended in quite an opposite way. Whenever his thoughts 
transported him into the midst of the world and the 
perishable things here, as long as he went on thinking 
of pleasures, honours, and glory, the pictures, recol 
lections, and hopes which he evoked flattered him 
agreeably; but the charm was soon broken, all these 
pleasures vanished with the thoughts which had given 
rise to them, and, on disappearing, were succeeded by 


heaviness and lassitude, by trouble and an indefinable 
unrest. He was not only satiated, but disgusted, he 
remained depressed and without vigour, he was dis 
satisfied, sad, and a burden to himself. When, on the 
other hand, he returned to the project of walking in 
the steps of the Saints, of embracing, after their 
example, a life of penance, and of combating his 
inclinations, a deep calm and a profound peace took 
possession of him, and he experienced in his innermost 
being a contentment a thousand times preferable tO 
that which all the joys of the world had ever obtained: 
for him. Besides, and above all, far from bringing in 
its train obscurity and perplexity, bitterness and dis 
couragement, this contentment left clear light in his 
soul, and firm trust as to the issue, and he felt himself 
full of strength and prepared to undertake all, in spite 
of obstacles, nothing seemed to him either impossible 
or difficult. 

For some time, Ignatius had often been struck withi 
this two-fold occurrence, but not suspecting its import 
ance, he had contented himself with noticing it as- 
strange, without seeking for the cause, and he drew 
from it no practical conclusion. However, it was from 
this that he was about to receive the decisive impulse 
which he needed to cut short his irresolution, and to 
decide irrevocably. 

After much reflection, the essential difference 
remarked by him between the results produced by 
consolation, according as consolation came to him, 
from the things of time or from those of eternity, led. 
him to recognize clearly this great truth : in spite of 
appearances, one thing only is necessary, we are made 
for God, and it is solely by serving Him that we shall 
find what is wanting to us. He saw that it belongs 
to God alone to satisfy us fully, and to make us per 
fectly happy, that apart from Him, whatever way we 


turn, we fatigue ourselves vainly in the pursuit of 
happiness. He understood, from the sad experience 
which he had had, that all created things were unable 
to satisfy him, that they were not substantial, nor 
perfect, nor durable enough to calm the aspirations 
which tormented him, and that, if they chanced to 
amuse him for the moment, they brought upon him 
but too surely, after a short period of intoxication, a 
cruel disenchantment. He remained convinced that 
the heart of man is not mistaken when, to satisfy the 
loftiness of its desires, it asks for infinite happiness, 
but that God alone can give it because He alone 
possesses it. 

The victory was gained, Heaven conquered, and Hell 
vanquished ; Ignatius, firmly resolved to refuse God 
nothing, sprang forward immediately in the new career 
open to him, and without ever again stopping, he will 
pursue it with gigantic steps. He already devoted the 
greater part of the day to prayer, and, when evening 
came, he secretly left his bed, threw himself on 
his knees, wept bitterly for his sins, and practised 
severe penances. One night, when thus prostrate 
before a picture of the Mother of God, he conjured her 
with the greatest fervour to procure for him favourable 
access to her Divine Son, and cause Him to accept 
the offering of his person. He then swore inviolable 
fidelity to both. Suddenly the earth trembled, there 
was a dreadful noise, the castle was shaken to the 
foundations, the windows shivered, the room he 
occupied threatened to bury him under its ruins, and 
the ancient tower of Loyola retains to this day, 
in the cracks in its walls, traces of the violent shock 
which it then sustained. Did Heaven intend thereby 
to signify to Ignatius that his vow was accepted, or did 
Hell, foreseeing already in him a formidable adversary, 
seek to destroy him ? We know not. However that 


might be, whilst waiting to be able to carry out fully 
the project which he had conceived, all the conse 
quences of which he was yet far from realizing, the 
Servant of God continued his life of prayer and 
mortification. A wonderful vision strengthened him 
opportunely. Another night, when at prayer, the 
glorious Queen of Heaven, surrounded with dazzling 
light, and carrying her dear Child, appeared to him, 
looked at him tenderly, and remained a long time 
with him. During this happy visit, which Ignatius 
kept almost entirely secret, we know that he was 
completely detached from earthly affections, and that 
he received the gift of perfect chastity. " It seemed 
to me," he admitted to Father Gonzalez, "that my 
heart was purified, and that all the images of sensual 
pleasures were effaced from my mind;" from this 
moment he was never disturbed by the importunate 
thoughts which sometimes torment the most angelic 

14. Ignatius, having almost completely recovered, 
prepared in good earnest to leave the world, and to 
carry out the resolution which he had formed, of retiring 
to a solitude to satisfy the justice of God by penitential 
exercises. He had told no one of his intention, but on 
seeing him so unlike himself, absorbed in profound 
meditations, only breaking silence to speak of the 
vanity of human things, and always occupied in 
reading or writing, it was easy to conjecture that he 
was disgusted with the world, and that he was enter 
taining some extraordinary project. Moreover, when, 
under pretext of going to greet the Duke of Najara, to 
whom he was under obligations, he wished to take 
leave of his eldest brother, Don Martin Garcia, who, 
since the death of their father, Don Bertram, possessed 
the Castle of Loyola, the latter profited by this oppor- 


tunity, to obtain the explanation of what he suspected, 
and to prevent what he feared. From his affection for 
a brother who was well worthy of it, as well as to guard 
what he believed to be the honour of his race, Don 
Martin, upon the first intimation made to him by 
Ignatius concerning his departure, took him into a 
room apart in the castle, and when they were alone, 
said to him : " Ignatius, allow me to tell you a suspicion 
which haunts me regarding you, if I can still call 
suspicion a certainty based upon the most unequivocal 
proofs. Since your accident, I can scarcely recognize 
you. A change, as complete as it is sudden, has taken 
place in you. Notwithstanding all your efforts to prevent 
your thoughts from being read, the hatred against your 
self which seems to animate you, and your estrangement 
from your relatives, betray you only too well, unknown 
to yourself. Have you any right to practise such con 
cealment towards your brother, who is your best friend ? 
Doubtless you thought me incapable of keeping the 
secret which you had to confide to me ! . . . Since 
this is the case, I must disclose to you what I had every 
right to have learned from you. Your pretended depar 
ture conceals a flight, you plead a visit of courtesy, in 
reality you wish to leave us. Well, be it so. May I not 
at least know where you are going and what you mean 
to do ? I know you well, whatever the project may be 
which you have been revolving in your mind for several 
weeks, whatever course you may have decided upon, it 
must be something of extreme importance. You have 
not consulted any one, ... if you had even consulted 
yourself, . . . but no, you have been under the influence 
of a sort of gloomy melancholy, which, under the guise 
of piety, is urging you to a determination which, at 
heart, you are ashamed of, since you dare not admit it 
to me. Believe me, distrust your grief, it is deceiving 
you. The surrender of Pampeluna has not been a 


check to you, nor spoilt your career, as you seem to 
think ; on the contrary, it brought glory to you. A 
grand future opens itself more than ever before you, 
you are in the prime of life, you possess great qualities 
to which all do homage, your name is in every mouth, 
like that of the most illustrious warriors of Spain. 
Although I am your elder, the consideration which you 
enjoy makes you henceforth the head of our house, and 
there is nothing to which you may not aspire. Continue 
what has been begun so well, and do not disappoint 
the hopes to which you have given rise. ... If the 
warlike profession has ceased to please you, turn your 
attention elsewhere, there is no lack of honourable 
employments suited to your condition. ... If you 
desire to labour for your perfection, I do not oppose it, 
far from it, I praise you for it, and I envy you; but 
must you go far away in order to attain this end ? Our 
family must be verv corrupt, we must be very wicked, 
if you cannot find God amongst us ! Who is there to 
hinder you from acquiring holiness by continuing the 
life of retreat and prayer which you have lately been 
leading here ? If my fears are unfounded, pray reassure 
me with a word. ... In any case, if your determina 
tion is unchangeable, if you persist in flying from us,, 
remember, that wherever you go, you carry with you 
the honour of our name, and if, which God forbid, you 
do anything unworthy of us, the fault will undoubtedly 
be yours, but the shame will recoil upon us all. If, 
therefore, you are insensible as to your own interest, 
think of your ancestors, think of us." 

Don Martin spoke for a long time in this manner, 
and Ignatius listened to him without showing any 
emotion. Far from being shaken, the conversation 
only inspired him with deep compassion for the blind 
ness of a brother, to whom it seemed meanness to 
trample the world underfoot, and the greatest dishonour 


to embrace the glorious shame of the Cross. In order 
not to sin against truth, of which he was extremely 
careful, but at the same time so as not to disclose what 
he was anxious to keep secret, the Servant of God 
merely replied that he was really going to pay the visit 
in question, that the Duke of Najara had shown him 
great kindness, and knowing that he had recovered, he 
thought himself bound to express his gratitude to him r 
for his good offices towards him. Moreover, that he 
was much surprised at being thought capable of doing 
anything unworthy of his family. He declared that he 
was far from having any such intentions, and that he 
hoped never to give his family any cause to be ashamed 
of him. He then set out, and after having paid his 
respects to the Duke of Najara, he went to Montserrat, 
and thence to Manresa. 

15. At the beginning of his stay at Manresa^. 
Ignatius, not content with treating his body with 
dreadful severity, set to work also to subdue the 
worldly pride which was the groundwork of his 
character. He therefore took up his abode in the 
hospital, and began to ask for alms as if he had been 
the meanest of the wretched. Lest his rank should be 
suspected on account of his physiognomy and his 
manners, he affected vulgar ways and all the habits of 
a common man. For this purpose, he, who was before 
so particular in all that concerned cleanliness and 
elegance, now neglected his person, or rather, studied 
to give it a repulsive and ridiculous appearance. 
The devil could not endure sentiments so heroically 
Christian, especially in a man who was entering upon 
a career of self-renunciation and humility ; he therefore 
used every means to check these promising beginnings 
and put wicked thoughts into his mind : " What are 
you thinking of, Ignatius, how great is your error ! Do 


you believe that you will please God by the wretched 
life to which you are condemning )^ourself? For the 
sake of His glory, and for your own advantage, would 
it not be better to remain in the condition in which He 
placed you, and stay in the world to edify it, than to 
hide yourself in a nook in a hospital with the refuse of 
society ? By leading you back so far, and by convert 
ing you through a series of extraordinary graces, God 
wished to show to all, in your person, that it is possible 
to serve Him without leaving the world, and to be 
faithful to Him even in the highest positions. A man 
such as you are, by his authority, his influence, and 
his example, would suffice to reform the habits of a 
whole city ; instead of affording matter for ridicule to 
the populace as you are doing to no purpose, your 
behaviour would bring virtue and holiness into credit 
at Court and in the army. It rests with you to save a 
great number of souls, and you prefer to let them 
perish ; far from winning your brethren to piety, you 
are rendering it hateful to them by your excesses. . . . 
Yet, perhaps all this does not move you ! Well, be it 
so ! If you are determined to flee from tumult and 
renown, if you long for silence and retirement, at least 
disappear, and bury yourself in solitude, do not expose 
yourself wantonly to insults, do not try to bring ridicule 
upon you, nor court affronts. Think of your family, 
and what you owe to it. What has it done to you that 
you should cover it with infamy ? Is it allowable for 
you, in order that you may be the amusement of a 
troop of children and of a vile crowd, to waste its 
heritage of glory ? Have you any right to drag in the 
mud, in sight of a whole city, the honour which your 
valiant ancestors have gained, at the cost of their 
labours and fatigues, by shedding their blood on the 
field of battle in a hundred combats ? " Unexpectedly 
reawakened by the astute malice of his enemy, the 


proud and delicate nature of Ignatius revived and 
revolted for a moment, the commonness of his clothes 
and food, the dirt and stench of the hospital, the 
company of the wretched people whom he met there, 
raised a horrible tempest in his soul. Nevertheless, 
perceiving the snare which was spread for his self-love, 
the Servant of God, without stopping to argue with the 
tempter, ran straight to the hospital. He sought out 
the sick people who inspired him with the greatest 
aversion, took them in his arms, embraced them, and 
remained with them until he had completely conquered 
his repugnance and put the devil to flight. 

1 6. After having spent some time at the hospital at 
Manresa, Ignatius had left it, as much in order to with 
draw from the marks of veneration which they began 
to show him, as to be free to devote himself with less 
restraint to the roughest practices of penance. He had 
retired to a grotto, which the composition of his Exer 
cises, and the severities which he there practised upon 
himself, have rendered so celebrated. Even at the 
hospital, his mortifications might frighten the stoutest 
hearts. He had forbidden himself anything which 
could have procured him the slightest satisfaction, 
and had even deprived himself of a part of his neces 
sary repose. He only gave the time which was indis 
pensable to sleep. During the greatest cold of winter, 
he had no bed but the ground, no pillow but a stone or 
a piece of wood. He was present every day at the 
Holy Mysteries, and devoted seven hours to prayer, 
which he always made upon his knees ; besides this, 
he fasted every day, only taking at his one meal a little 
of the blackest and hardest bread out of that which he 
had begged, and a few drops of water. As an exception 
on Sundays he added to his food some herbs, which he 
had rendered tasteless by mixing them with ashes or 


earth. Under the sack which served him for clothing 
he wore haircloth, an iron chain, or a girdle of sharp 
points which tore his flesh. He did much more after 
he retired to his grotto, and his austerities seemed to 
know no bounds. He stayed up whole nights, he 
fasted several days continuously without taking any 
food, to which he added frequent bloody flagellations, 
and wounded his chest with a stone. Such a regimen 
weakened him so completely that his life seemed only 
to be prolonged by a constant miracle. He often 
became unconscious and was then found almost dead, 
with neither motion nor heat. Once when he had gone 
to a neighbouring chapel he was overtaken by a fainting 
fit which lasted several days, and when he regained his 
senses they carried him back against his will to the 
hospital. The evil spirit profited by his exhaustion to 
endeavour to discourage him and to make him give up 
what he had begun. Affecting an air of compassion 
towards him, he repeated to him in the depths of his 
heart : " Poor Ignatius ! How will you be able to 
maintain to the end a life so dreadful, during the 
seventy years which you have yet to remain upon 
earth ? " The Servant of God was not deceived, he 
saw plainly whence this thought proceeded, and he 
answered the devil: "You who speak thus, can you 
secure to me a single hour of life ? Is not God the 
Master of our days ? Kven if I had to remain seventy 
years longer in this world, what would that be in com 
parison with eternity ? " 

17. The name of scruple is vulgarly applied to 
what proceeds from our own judgment and free-will : 
v.g., when I freely judge that to be a sin which is not 
so ; which happens, for example, when any one having 
accidentally trodden on a cross formed by two straws, 
of his own accord judges that he has sinned ; and 


this is properly an erroneous judgment, not a real 

After I have trodden upon that cross, or after I 
have thought, said, or done something, there comes to 
me from without the thought that I have sinned, and 
on the other hand it seems to me that I have not sinned, 
and still I feel some disturbance from this, inasmuch as 
I do doubt and yet I do not doubt ; this is properly a 
scruple and a temptation suggested by the enemy. 

The first kind of scruple is very much to be abhorred, 
because it is all an error; but the second for a short 
time is of no small advantage to a soul which devotes 
itself to spiritual exercises ; it even greatly purges 
and cleanses such a soul, separating it very much 
from every appearance of sin, according to those words 
of St. Gregory : Bonarum mentium est, ibi cidpam agnos- 
cevc, ubi culpa nulla est " It is a mark of good minds 
there to recognize fault where there is none." 

1 8. The soul which desires to advance in the 
spiritual life ought to take just the contrary course to 
that which our enemy takes ; that is to say, if the 
enemy wishes to make the soul more gross, let it 
manage to make itself more delicate ; in like manner if 
the enemy is striving to make it delicate to an extreme, 
let the soul strive to establish itself in a right mean, 
thus to gain tranquillity in everything. 

19. When such a good soul wishes to say what is 
good or to do anything not contrary to the usage of the 
Church or to the mind of our betters, and which may 
be for the glory of God our Lord, and there comes 
some thought or temptation from without not to say or 
do it, founded on apparent reasons of vainglory or 
otherwise, then it ought to lift up its understanding to 
its Creator and Lord, and if it sees that this action 
belongs to the service due to Him, or is at least in no 


way opposed to it, he ought to act in a manner diame^ 
trically opposite to the temptation, imitating St. Bernard 
in his answer to a like temptation : Nee propter te inccepi, 
nee propter te finiam " I began not for you, neither for 
you will I desist." 

20. Ignatius was far from being of a weak disposi 
tion, and at Montserrat he had spent three days in 
making his confession with all possible care, after 
having written down all the faults of his life, such as a 
serious examen had made them known to him ; never 
theless God allowed him to be attacked by a dreadful 
temptation of scruple in this respect. He had no longer 
a moment of repose, the days and nights passed in 
trouble and tears, he tortured himself unceasingly and 
he was for ever asking himself: "Has God forgiven 
me ? Was my contrition real ? Have I not perhaps 
forgotten some sin ? Did not shame cause me to be 
silent as to that fault, or at least lead me to extenuate 
the gravity of it ? Was such a circumstance sufficiently 
made clear ? Did I make myself understood ? Did 
I not exaggerate my guilt on such a point ? " To put 
an end to such doubts and to reassure himself, he had 
recourse to prayer and to redoubled austerities ; but 
the more he prayed and mortified himself, the more 
these doubts and fears increased. Moreover, in every 
thought, word, and deed, he was afraid of incurring 
God s anger, and, imagining sin where there was not a 
shadow of it, he was for ever arguing with himself as 
to the state of his conscience, without being ever able 
to decide what was evil and what was not. 

In these endless reasonings and struggles he some 
times uttered groans and cries and threw himself down 
on the ground ; but generally he maintained a gloomy 
silence as if the sadness which overwhelmed him had 
deprived him of voice. He often went to his confessor 



to tell him again what he reproached himself with 
having omitted or explained badly, but was no better. 
Scarcely had he quitted the holy tribunal when other 
anxieties took hold upon him, and he thought himself 
obliged to return to the priest to complete or correct his 
accusations. He did so, and recommenced indefinitely 
the same confessions, without thereby regaining peace. 

Only one thing brought him relief, and that was the 
participation in the Body of the Lord, Whom he 
received every Sunday ; yet it happened more than 
once that being on the point of communicating and at 
the moment when the priest was giving him the Host, 
his anxieties redoubled to such a degree, that, fearing 
to commit sacrilege, he got up and withdrew from the 
holy table in confusion and desolation. Conscious that 
this miserable state was exceedingly injurious to him in 
every respect, he earnestly desired to be delivered from 
it ; he ardently longed for a guide to help him to gei 
out of it, and sought for one in various places, but could 
not succeed in finding one. They did indeed forbid him 
to listen to scruples, but he did not know in what a 
scruple consisted ; and to have to decide this was to 
him a cause of new torments. 

There was then staying at Manresa a preacher who 
was considered very skilful in the direction of souls. 
The Servant of God wished to consult him. He made 
him recommence his general confession, and advised 
him to note down on paper, as they occurred to his 
memory, the sins which he should recall to his recol 
lection. No remedy could have been more unsuitable 
than this ; far from curing the evil, it aggravated it and 
brought it to a climax. Ignatius tried it to his cost. 
The examination which he made gave rise to a number 
of new anxieties which he had not hitherto had. His 
scruples produced others, and the more he searched 
the deeper he plunged into an inextricable labyrinth, 


After many useless reflections which confused his mind, 
he was convinced that only blind obedience was capable 
of saving him, and that tranquillity would be restored 
to him, if, using all his authority over him, the priest 
commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to forget 
the past entirely, and to take heed of it no more for the 
future than if it had never existed. His natural gopd 
sense was right, the solution which he had found was 
excellent, but because it proceeded from himself he 
suspected it, and whilst earnestly hoping that it might 
be given him as a rule to follow, he dare not suggest 
the idea to him who directed him. However, his usual 
confessor, to whom he had returned, ordered him of his 
own accord not to go back over his past faults, at least 
without being quite certain that he was obliged to do 
so. This direction was assuredly better than the pre 
ceding, and might have been efficacious under other 
circumstances, but at the point at which Ignatius had 
arrived, it was not enough. " I was told not to speak 
unless it was evident to me that I ought to do so," 
he related afterwards, " but when it was a case of 
giving judgment against myself, nothing seemed to 
me doubtful, everything was evident to me." 

Notwithstanding, he continued his practices of piety 
and penance, thinking that the more troubled he was, 
the more faithful and exact he ought to be. Still, 
seeing no help come to him from any quarter, he could 
not get rid of the idea that God had forsaken him, that 
he had nothing to hope for in this world nor the next, 
and that his damnation was certain. It is impossible 
to express the torment which he then suffered, only 
those who have been afflicted with these kinds of 
crosses can conceive it. The rudest austerities of 
penance afford as much consolation to the mind and 
the heart as suffering to the body ; but to love God, to 
serve Him fervently, to desire ardently to possess Him, 



and yet to believe that one displeases Him, that one is 
rejected, and that one offends by every act, is little 
short of a hell upon earth. 

The Dominicans took pity upon Ignatius, and 
received him into their house from charity ; but he was 
still more tormented there. He fell into a gloomy 
melancholy, and was often violently tempted to throw 
himself down out of the window of his cell. Neverthe 
less, he repelled this impulse of despair, exclaiming : 
"No, Lord, I will not do it, I will not offend Thee;" 
and though Heaven seemed inexorable, he ceased not 
to utter this cry of distress: "Lord, why hast Thou 
withdrawn Thyself from me ? Lord, why hast Thou 
forsaken me whilst it is said to me daily : Where now 
is thy God?" Whilst praying thus, he remembered 
that a hermit of old, not being able to obtain from 
Heaven a favour which he earnestly desired, fasted 
continually and ate nothing until his prayer had been 
granted. Following this example, he resolved, without 
asking the advice of any one, to take no food until 
tranquillity should be restored to his soul, unless his life 
should be endangered thereby, in which case he would 
break his fast. The first, second, and third day passed 
without any improvement, and he persevered until the 
seventh, neither eating nor drinking, and not in any 
way relaxing in his usual practices. As his troubles 
still lasted, and, by a sort of miracle, his strength had 
not completely left him, he would have continued this 
fast, if his confessor, whom he then told of it, had not 
absolutely enjoined him to give it up, under pain of 
refusing him absolution and of depriving him of Com 
munion, if he did not submit. He commanded him to 
believe that his sins were forgiven, and told him not 
to do God such an injury as to doubt it, but to trust 
to His mercy. Heaven approved of the fervour which 
had caused him to undertake so extraordinary a thing, 


and the obedience which made him afterwards abandon 
it. Peace was suddenly restored to him, and his interior 
crosses changed into ineffable delights which he had 
not hitherto tasted. 

However, all was not yet over. A new tempest 
arose in his heart three days later ; his scruples, 
sadness, and despair again took possession of him,, 
he was tempted to abandon the life which he had 
embraced, and he would undoubtedly have succumbed, 
unless God had sustained him. Suddenly, his eyes 
were opened, it seemed as if he awaked from a deep 
sleep, he went over all that had happened to him, 
and recognized the devil s artifice ; he then made an 
unchangeable resolution never, under any pretext 
whatever, to look back, and not again to pay any 
more attention to his former life than if he had only 
just come into the world. From that moment he was 
completely free from scruples ; and he acquired such 
marvellous dexterity in delivering others from them, 
that there is scarcely an instance of his not having 
cured those attacked by them, who had recourse to 
him for help. 

21. The devil, through his artifices, endeavours at 
one time to take from us all fear of falling, so that 
we may be overcome more certainly, and at another, 
he seeks to alarm us with vain chimera, that, losing 
all courage, and yielding to depression, we may give 
way under the idea that resistance is impossible. 

22. As soon as Ignatius applied himself in good 
earnest to the care of his soul, he perceived the presence 
within him of two spirits distinct from himself, and 
thoroughly opposed, which, unceasingly, and by every 
kind of means, strove to attract him to them by 
suggesting to him their respective thoughts and senti 
ments. The confidences of the Servant of God have 



already enabled us once to be present at the stirring 
revolutions of this inward drama at the decisive 
moment of his rupture with the vanities of the world. 
After being suspended for a time, this interior 
struggle of the spirits, so full of teaching for us, recom 
menced soon after his arrival at Manresa. After he 
had embraced a new life, Ignatius had enjoyed great 
calm for several weeks. He had even been filled with 
the sweetness which the Holy Spirit usually sheds into 
the heart of sinners who have recently returned to 
the right path, in order to disgust them with the false 
and dangerous pleasures of the world and soften to 
them the labours of penance. He had afterwards 
to undergo sharp alternations of heavenly visits and 
abandonment, of sensible fervour and aridity, which 
moved him strangely, yet without ever overthrowing 
him. The practices of piety had no longer any charm 
for him, his heart was unmoved and frozen when he 
was present at the Holy Sacrifice or applied himself 
to prayer ; he was a prey to such torments, that he 
could not understand himself. He could not endure 
himself. Then, all at once, at the moment when he 
least expected it, his sadness left him like a cloak 
which had been removed from his shoulders, calmness 
returned, Divine light poured in upon him with the 
greatest brilliancy, ineffable joy filled his soul, and he 
retained no traces of the preceding gloom and torments. 
However, these delightful moments passed quickly by, 
and he was suddenly plunged again into the deepest 
darkness, and the bitterest desolation. As he possessed 
no experience of these different states, and was as yet 
ignorant that souls are sometimes treated thus at the 
outset of a Christian life, lest they should attribute 
their fervour to their own strength, and lest they should 
cling more to God s favours than to God Himself, he 
exclaimed in the surprise which these unexpected 


vicissitudes occasioned him : " What is this ? What 
unknown path am I entering on ? What new kind of 
warfare shall I have to carry on ?" 

Nevertheless, quickly conquering his emotion, he 
set to work with the sagacity which was natural to 
him, to discover what these rival influences were, 
which were both seeking to obtain possession of him ; 
he asked himself what interest they could have in 
acting thus, what end they were aiming at, what means 
they employed to attain it, and by what kind of 
impression their action was made sensible to him. 
From these observations combined, he deduced after 
wards, for his own guidance and for that of others, 
valuable principles which he has recorded in different 
places in his correspondence, but chiefly in the book 
of his Spiritual Exercises, under the title of Rules for 
the Discernment of Spirits. 

23. I call it consolation when there is excited in 
the soul some interior motion by which it comes to be 
inflamed with the love of its Creator and Lord, and 
when, consequently, it can love nothing created on the 
face of the earth in itself, but only in the Creator of all. 
Likewise, when tears burst forth, urging it to the love 
of its Lord, whether they spring from grief for sins 
committed, or from the Passion of Christ our Lord, or 
from any other consideration directly ordained to His 
service and praise. Finally, I call consolation every 
increase of hope, faith, and charity, and every kind of 
interior joy, which calls and attracts man to heavenly 
things, and to the salvation of his own soul, rendering 
it quiet and tranquil in its Creator and Lord. 

I call desolation all that is contrary to what is set 
down in this rule, as darkness and disquiet of soul,, 
an attraction towards low and earthly objects, the 
disquiet of various agitations and temptations, which. 


urge it to diffidence, without hope and without love, 
and when the soul finds itself slothful, tepid, sad, and, 
as it were, separated from its Creator and Lord. 

24. God has two ways of teaching us, He Himself 
gives us one, and He allows the other. What He gives 
is inward consolation, which banishes all trouble from 
the soul and draws it wholly to the love of God. In 
this consolation, the Divine Master communicates to 
some His light, to others He discloses many secrets, 
and then performs great things in them. With this 
Divine consolation all troubles are changed into plea 
sures, and all fatigue into rest. To him who is walking 
with this fervour, this warmth, and this inward conso 
lation, every burden, however great, becomes light ; 
there is neither penance, nor labour, however great it 
may be, which is not sweet to him. This consolation 
points out and opens to us the path we ought to follow, 
and shows us, at the same time, the opposite path to 
avoid. It does not remain with us always ; but it always 
accompanies us at the times which God has marked out 
for it ; and all is for our good. 

It is when this consolation has departed from the 
soul that the second lesson begins for it : that is to say, 
that our old enemy puts all possible obstacles in our 
way in order to turn us from the path upon which we 
have entered. He molests us beyond endurance, he 
often fills us with sadness, and we know not, and cannot 
discover why we are sad : in this state we cannot pray 
with devotion, nor contemplate, nor speak of, nor hear 
spoken of the things of God, with any comfort or 
satisfaction. This is not all: if the enemy sees that 
we are weak and depressed by these thoughts which he 
has put into our mind, he suggests new thoughts to 
us which lead us to think that God has completely 
forgotten us ; and we go so far as to believe that we 


are quite separated from this adorable Master, and that 
all that we have hitherto done, and all that we should 
wish to do, is without merit before Him. In this way 
he strives to deprive us of all trust. If we notice care 
fully, we shall see that this excessive fear and weakness 
in us, proceed from this, that during the storm we have 
dwelt too much on our wretchedness, and have allowed 
ourselves to be too much depressed by the fallacious 
suggestions of the enemy. For this reason it is neces 
sary to observe from what quarter the attack proceeds. 
Are we visited by consolation ? Let us humble ourselves, 
and remember that we shall speedily be tried by tempta 
tion. Are we assailed by temptation, by darkness, or 
sadness ? Let us go on in spite of them, without 
dwelling upon the impression which they produce upon 
us, and let us wait patiently for consolation from God, 
which will drive away all disturbance and disperse all 

25. It is peculiar to God and His angels to give in 
their motions true joy and spiritual gladness, removing 
all sadness and disturbance of mind occasioned by the 
enemy, while it is peculiar to him to fight against such 
joy and spiritual consolation, bringing forward pretended 
reasons, sophistries, and perpetual fallacies. 

26. In time of desolation we must never make a 
change, but remain firm and constant in the resolutions 
and determinations made on the day preceding this 
desolation, or in the preceding consolation. For as in 
consolation it is the good spirit that guides and directs 
us, so in desolation it is the bad spirit, by whose counsels 
we cannot find the way to any right decision. 

27. Although in desolation we ought not to change 
our former resolutions, it is very profitable to make 
change in ourselves in ways that oppose the desolation, 


as, for example, by insisting much on prayer and medi 
tation, by frequent examination, and by increasing in 
some suitable manner our penances. 

28. Let him who is in desolation consider that our 
Lord, to try him, has left him to his natural powers, 
that he may resist the various agitations and tempta 
tions of the enemy, and to do so is always in his power 
by the assistance of God, which always remains to him, 
though he may not clearly perceive it, from the fact 
that our Lord withdraws from him all excessive fervour, 
and ardent love, and intense grace, leaving him only 
ordinary grace, with which, however, he is able to 
resist the tempter. 

29. Let him who is in desolation strive to preserve 
himself in patience, a virtue contrary to the troubles 
which harass him, and let him think that he will 
shortly be consoled, provided he uses the necessary 
means to conquer desolation, above pointed out. 

30. There are three principal reasons why we find 
ourselves in desolation. First, it may be a chastisement. 
Our tepidity, slothfulness, or negligence deprive us of 
spiritual consolation. Secondly, it is a trial. God 
wishes to try how much we are worth, and how much 
we progress in His service and praise when deprived of 
these abundant consolations and special graces. Thirdly, 
it is a lesson. God wishes to give us a true knowledge 
whereby we may intimately perceive that it is not in 
our power to acquire or retain excessive devotion, 
ardent love, tears, or any other kind of spiritual conso 
lations, but that all is a gift or favour of God our Lord, 
and to teach us not to build our nest in another s house, 
by allowing our intellect to be lifted up to any kind of 
pride or vainglory, by attributing to ourselves feelings 
of devotion or other kinds of spiritual consolation. 


31. It is peculiar to God our Lord alone to grant 
consolation to the soul without any preceding cause for 
it, because it belongs to the Creator alone to go in and 
out of the soul, to excite motions in it, attracting it 
entirely to the love of His Divine Majesty. I say, 
without cause, that is, without any previous perception 
or knowledge of any object from which such consolation 
might come to the soul, by means of its own acts of the 
understanding and will. 

32. When a cause has preceded the consolation, it 
is possible for the good as well as the bad angel to 
afford consolation to the soul, but with opposite inten 
tion : the good angel with the intention that the soul 
may progress and advance from good to better ; the 
bad angel with the intention of leading it in the 
opposite direction, and of bringing it henceforward to 
yield to his wicked and malicious designs. 

33. It is peculiar to the bad angel, transfiguring 
himself into an angel of light, to enter with the devout 
soul, and to come out his own way ; that is to say, to 
begin by inspiring good and holy thoughts in conformity 
with the dispositions of the just soul, and afterwards 
gradually to endeavour to gain his end, by drawing the 
soul into his secret snares and perverse intentions. 

34. We ought to be very careful to watch the course 
of such thoughts ; and if the beginning, middle, and 
end are all good, leading to all that is good, this is a 
mark that they proceed from the good angel ; but if the 
thoughts suggested terminate in anything evil or dis 
tracting, or less good than that which the soul had 
determined to follow, or if they weaken, disturb, or 
disquiet the soul, depriving her of the peace, the 
tranquillity, and the quiet she enjoyed before, it is a 
clear sign that they proceed from the bad spirit, the 
enemy of our advancement and of our eternal salvation. 


35. When the enemy of our human nature ha& 
been discovered and recognized by his serpent s tail, 
and by the bad end to which he leads, it is profitable 
for him who has been thus tempted by him to examine 
afterwards the course of the good thoughts suggested 
to him, and their beginning, and to remark how little 
by little the enemy contrived to make him fall from the 
state of sweetness and spiritual delight he was in, until 
he brought him to his own depraved purpose ; that by 
the experience and knowledge thus acquired and noted 
he may be on his guard for the future against his 
accustomed deceits. 

36. In the case of those who are making progress 
from good to better, the good angel touches the soul 
gently, lightly, sweetly, as a drop of water entering into 
a sponge ; and the evil spirit touches it sharply, and 
with noise and disturbance, like a drop of water falling 
on a rock. In the case of those who go from bad to 
worse, the very contrary happens, and the reason of 
this difference is the disposition of the soul, according 
as it is contrary or similar to these spirits ; for when it 
is contrary to them they enter with perceptible com 
motion and disturbance; but when it is similar to them, 
they enter in silence, as into their own house, through 
the open doors. 

37. When there is consolation without any preceding 
cause, though there be no deceit in it, inasmuch as it 
proceeds from God our Lord, as before explained, 
nevertheless the spiritual person to whom God gives 
this consolation ought with great watchfulness and care 
to examine and to distinguish the exact period of the 
consolation from the period which follows it, in which 
the soul continues fervent and feels the remains of the 
Divine fervour and consolation lately received; for in 


this second period it often happens that through its 
ordinary habits, and in consequence of its conceptions 
and judgments, whether by the suggestion of the good 
or evil spirit, it makes various resolves and plans, 
which are not inspired immediately by God our Lord ; 
and hence it is necessary that they be thoroughly well 
examined before they receive entire credit and are 
carried out into effect. 

38. It often happens that our Lord moves and 
urges our soul to some operation; He does so by 
opening our soul, that is, by speaking within it without 
noise of words, and by elevating it completely to His 
Divine love, without our being able, if we would, to resist 
the feeling which He puts into us. This feeling, because 
it comes to us from God, is necessarily conformed to 
His commandments, to the precepts of the Church, and 
to the obedience due to our Superiors, and fills the soul 
with perfect humility, because it is the same Divine 
Spirit which acts in everything. Yet we may often 
deceive ourselves in the following manner. After having 
received this consolation or inspiration from God, the 
soul remaining filled with joy, the enemy, feigning to 
share this joy and consolation, approaches and leads it 
to add to what it has received from God. His object is 
to trouble it and disgust it with everything. At other 
times, by the perplexities and difficulties which he stirs 
up, he makes us subtract from the lesson we have 
received, in order to prevent us from thoroughly 
fulfilling what is commanded us. We need more 
advertence and discernment here than in anything else : 
we must often repress the ardent desire which we may 
have to speak of God, at other times we must speak of 
Him more than inclination or inward movement would 
lead us to do ; for in this we should consult our neigh 
bour s profit more than our own wishes, when the devil 


endeavours thus to increase or diminish the good feeling 
which we have received. 

39. Let him who is in consolation think how he will 
be in future desolation, and lay up a store of courage 
for the time of trial. 

Let him also humble and lower himself as far as he 
can, thinking how little he is worth in time of desolation, 
when he is deprived of sensible grace or consolation. 
On the other hand, he who is in desolation must 
remember that he can do much with sufficient grace 
to resist all his enemies, when he takes strength in 
his Creator and Lord. 

40. During the stay which Ignatius made at the 
hospital at Manresa, the devil, seeing that God favoured 
him with extraordinary communications, set to work 
to mingle his operations with those of God in order to 
disturb His Servant. Through the artifices of the 
devil, the Saint saw several times in the air, close to 
him, a very brilliant and beautiful trail of light, without 
any distinct outline, and of which he could neither 
discover the cause nor the nature. It was like a kind 
of serpent, of which the body was sprinkled with a 
multitude of sparkling eyes. This object caused 
Ignatius lively joy, as long as it was visible, but what 
was strange, it left the Servant of God troubled and 
sad, when it vanished. This was enough to make 
Ignatius recognize the evil influence of the tempter. 
What confirmed him in his opinion was, that having 
gone to pray near a large cross which he frequently 
visited, the same image having appeared, the neigh 
bourhood of the cross deprived it of all beauty. Later, 
at Paris, and at Rome, the devil often appeared to him, 
but he was then stripped of all light, and showed 
himself as he really is, deformed, hideous, and horrible. 


Without feeling any fear, the Saint threatened him 
with his stick, and the monster fled. 

41. In the beginning of his conversion, Ignatius had 
not only to defend himself against the open or secret 
temptations of the devil, but also to be on his guard 
concerning the suggestions of his own fervour, which 
was more ardent than discreet. As he had as yet no 
experience of spiritual life, nor an enlightened director 
to guide him safely in the sublime way which Heaven 
marked out for him to follow henceforth, God often 
guided him in a direct manner, and Himself instructed 
him in many things, acting towards him like a preceptor 
who is gradually training his young pupil. This is his 
own expression. He always retained the conviction of 
this special care of God over his beginning, and at the 
end of his life, he said that he should consider it a 
fault to entertain any doubt on the matter. The two 
following facts which he related to Father Gonzalez 
confirm this. 

For some time, although he had already spent seven 
hours in prayer during the day, in the evening, when 
the Servant of God was preparing to take some 
necessary repose, he felt a special attraction to prayer. 
The sweetest sentiments and most delightful consola 
tions flowed into his soul with extraordinary abundance. 
Ignatius had at first no suspicion of the danger he 
might incur from an exercise of piety excellent in itself, 
the only harm of which was that it was practised at an 
unsuitable time. By the light which he received from 
God, he soon perceived his error, and immediately set 
to work to rectify it. Having ended by observing that 
these meditations, so full of charms for his heart, 
fatigued his mind and body extremely, and deprived 
him of the strength which he needed, he resolved to 
follow what reason dictated in the matter. He decided, 


with a view to the greater service of God, what time 
should be given to sleep, and made a rule for himself, 
which he afterwards observed faithfully, of never 
shortening it under any pretext of piety. 

42. Ignatius had resolved to practise perpetual 
abstinence ; it was a point which he had quite decided 
in his mind, and which he did not expect to have ever 
to reconsider. God did not approve of this excessive 
severity in him, and made him give it up in the 
following way. One day, on waking, when he was not 
thinking at all about his repast, Ignatius suddenly 
perceived before him, as if really there, some meat 
prepared and served upon a table. At the same time, 
he felt strongly urged not to exclude meat from his 
food. Although he remembered the resolution which 
he had previously made, he could not, in spite of all 
his efforts, prevent himself from thinking that he ought 
not to keep to it in future, and he had the inward 
conviction that Heaven wished to guide him henceforth 
in a different way. He went to his confessor, related 
to him what had happened, and asked him to decide 
whether or not it w T as an illusion. The confessor 
questioned him, examined the various circumstances 
carefully, and assured him that there was no illusion 
in it, but that it was a means used by God to make 
known to him His will. 

43. Ignatius, knowing his need of knowledge in order 
to carry out the plan with which Heaven had inspired 
him, began to study diligently, although he was thirty- 
three, and mixed with the children in the humble school 
where the elements of learning were taught. The desire 
to be useful to others, and the greater glory of God 
which was his object, made this rough beginning easier 
to him by helping him to overcome his repugnance, but 
the devil, who foresaw what the knowledge of Ignatius 


would lead to, used his cunning to upset his studies. 
He had no sooner arrived at the class, than Paradise 
seemed to open to him, his heart was filled with delights, 
the cause of which he did not know, the tenderest 
sentiments came to him abundantly, and his mind 
attained to such great knowledge of the deepest truths 
that the school, books, and studies, only inspired him 
with disgust ; his time was all spent in sighs, tears of 
joy, and outbursts of love, instead of learning to decline 
nouns and conjugate verbs. In that room, full of noisy 
children, he applied himself to contemplation with no 
less fervour than he had formerly done in his grotto at 
Manresa. Days and weeks passed in these sweet trans 
ports, but he made no progress, and notwithstanding 
his efforts, he was learning nothing. Struck by this 
strange phenomenon, he began to reflect, and soon 
discovered the trick of the tempter. "What is this," 
he said to himself, " during the time of meditation, 
when I go to confession, when I receive the Bread of 
Angels, when my prayers are prolonged into the night, 
and when I ill-treat my body, I do not experience such 
consolations ; on the other hand, as soon as I am seated 
on the bench at school, my mind flies to Heaven, while 
my master is explaining to me the elements of grammar, 
an interior master enlightens me as to the difficulties of 
Scripture and the mysteries of the faith. I recognize 
the snare of my artful enemy, these are the deceits of 
the old serpent." He went at once to him under whom 
he had placed himself for instruction, and asked him to 
accompany him to the Church of Our Lady of the 
Sea. There, falling on his knees, he confessed to him 
his error, begged him to forgive his fault, and pledged 
himself by vow to pursue his studies henceforth with 
all the energy of which he was capable. He asked him 
earnestly, at the same time, to require from him the 
same tasks as the other pupils, and to punish him like 


them, if he did not fulfil them. A remarkable thing 
then happened. No sooner had he unmasked the devil s 
batteries, than all these heavenly consolations and 
these extraordinary lights returned no more. 

44. It was not only at Barcelona, when he was 
learning the first elements of letters, but later also, at 
Paris, when he was studying the higher sciences, that 
Ignatius had to defend himself against a subtle tempta 
tion to which a less watchful person would probably 
have yielded. By the advice of his masters, and in 
order to profit more by their teaching, he had chosen 
another student, Peter Faber, more advanced than 
himself, to go over with him in private the subjects 
of the classes. Faber was soon to become his first 
disciple, and this innocent soul, instinctively inclined 
to piety, could not fail to catch fire when brought into 
contact with Ignatius. It often happened that on some 
school question which had more or less to do with 
spiritual things, a word escaped from one or other out 
of the abundance of his heart, and Aristotle was quite 
put aside. Without their noticing it, they thought no 
more of philosophy, they spoke of nothing but the good 
ness of God, and the progress of Ignatius was checked* 
Fortunately, accustomed as he was to take an account 
of his smallest doings, and to order them invariably 
for the end which he had set before him, he was not 
long in perceiving his error. He at once agreed with 
Faber to refrain henceforth, during their conferences, 
from all that was beyond the scope of their studies, and 
he kept to it. 

45. In order to guard against excessive zeal, which 
he had learnt to distrust when it diverted him from 
what God required from him at any particular time, 
the Servant of God diminished the number of his 
spiritual exercises, and denied himself, although it cost 



him a great deal, the consolation of labouring directly 
for the salvation of others, until he had quite finished 
his course of philosophy. 

46. Father Menchaca, who has collected and 
published with filial care the smallest authentic frag 
ments which he could discover of what proceeded from 
the pen of St. Ignatius, had hesitated much about 
inserting in his collection the following piece, which 
he had found in a Florence manuscript containing 
several writings of the Servant of God. On the one 
hand, it thoroughly agrees, in substance, with the 
doctrine set forth by the Saint in his letters to 
Sister Regadella, and elsewhere ; but on the other, it 
can at once be recognized by the style and general 
form of it, that it is not his ; moreover, it is stated 
to have been addressed by Father John Polanco to 
Father John Baptist Nola. Nevertheless, yielding to 
the urgent entreaties of a learned friend whom he 
consulted, Menchaca decided at last not to deprive the 
world of this valuable document, and we shall follow 
his example, hoping that it will not be taken amiss. 
The subject touched on in this letter is so delicate, and 
it is so difficult to keep a just measure in dealing with 
it, that it cannot fail to be very useful to see it taken 
up and developed by one of the first followers of 
Ignatius, his secretary, the depositary of the complete 
confidence of the Saint, and one of those who were 
most penetrated with his spirit. 

Letter of our Lord Jesus Christ to a pious soul, on the way it 
ought to behave in order to conquer spiritual temptations. 

If impure, shameful, blasphemous, or insulting 
thoughts concerning Me or My Saints sometimes 
present themselves to you, go on nevertheless, and 
do not at once be troubled by it, abandoning yourself 



to pusillanimity. Do not take pains to confess these 
kinds of temptations, since you have not consented to 
them ; they have caused you more grief than satisfac 
tion, you have not accepted them, you have had to 
bear them. 

Let him, therefore, who has an upright intention 
not accuse himself of these things, let him not be 
alarmed by them ; these infamous things do not proceed 
from him, but are rather aimed at him. 

When the soul cannot free itself from the images 
which beset it, when, notwithstanding all its efforts, it 
is assailed with such dreadful thoughts concerning Me 
that they would cause horror to the most depraved, it 
experiences, it is true, great pain, but the result of this 
pain is to purify, not to defile you. 

By all these miseries, the devil seeing that you desire 
Me only, that you love Me only, endeavours to disturb 
your peace and to prevent you from attaching yourself 
to Me. The more holy the time and place are, the 
more you apply yourself with ardour to meditate upon 
the Divine truths, the more care you take to raise 
yourself to and unite yourself with Me, the more do 
disgusting and troublesome phantoms arise in your 
mind, but it is the devil who stirs them up in you. 

Perhaps you excite them also, by your readiness to 
take fright, and by the excessive precautions which you 
multiply to defend yourself. For, when any one gives 
way to fear, and begins to tremble, he soon finds 
himself in the presence of what he dreaded ; and the 
phantoms which he feared to encounter are evoked by 
the very fear of them which his timidity had produced. 

The devil also produces these thoughts that, while 
you are trying to reject them, they may occupy you, 
take up your time, and deprive you of leisure to enjoy 
My love and My charity, or that discouraged and 
depressed, you may no longer dare to approach Me. 


He does all this because he delights in seeing you 
perplexed with scruples and troubles, and he thus takes 
from you peace and tranquillity of mind. 

I entreat you not to heed these things, do not be 
afraid of them, avoid answering them, do not show 
how odious they are to you, nor pay them any attention ; 
you should be firm, and persevere in the good work or 
exercise of piety which you have begun, as if no bad 
thought or image had presented itself to you. You 
should only repel this vileness by contempt, and by 
disregard, and not notice it more than the barking of a 
dog or the cries of a goose, which you do not answer 
nor distress yourself about. If you act thus, you will 
soon be free from them and all traces will be effaced 
from your mind ; if, on the contrary, you resist them 
by force, disputing with them, fearing ^hem, answer 
ing them, and doing them the honour to treat them 
seriously, examining them constantly, they will encrust 
themselves upon your memory, and also produce great 
disturbance in you. We do not get the better of these 
temptations by making head against them, but by 
letting them fall to the ground contemptuously. 

I think that He Who created us, Who shed His 
Blood for us, and Who loves us with so powerful a 
love, gives us some teaching which we need in this 
letter. In His name then, as far as I can, I entreat all 
who read it to appropriate the substance of it, for I am 
certain that it will afford great consolation to their 
souls. God grant that they may become saints and 
perfect in Hisjove and charity. So be it. So be it. 



i. There was nothing in the world which Ignatius 
dreaded so much as sin, and it might even be said that 
he dreaded nothing else. We have already had occasion 
to mention that to prevent one offence against God, he 
would willingly have undertaken a whole life of labours 
and sufferings, and would have considered himself 
amply paid if he could succeed at such a cost. We 
have also seen it stated that it would be unbearable to 
him to spend one night under the same roof with a 
person whom he knew to be defiled by grievous sin. 
He was animated by the same sentiments on the 
following occasion. He had come to Jerusalem with 
the fixed intention of ending his days there in labouring 
for the glory of God, in employing himself for the 
salvation of his brethren, and in gratifying his tender 
piety with regard to the mysteries of our Saviour s 
life and death. But, in order to establish himself in 
Palestine, he needed an authorization from the Pro 
vincial of the Franciscans, who were the guardians of 
the Holy Places. The latter, for good reasons, did not 
think himself able to grant the authorization requested, 
and he gave some of his reasons. These reasons did 
not convince Ignatius, who combated them, and per 
sisted, in order to obtain what he desired. The Pro 
vincial still refused, and brought forward new motives, 
amongst which he remarked that by persisting in 


remaining in Jerusalem, he ran the risk of losing his 
life by the hand of the Turks, or at least of being 
thrown into irons by them. These new reasons in no 
way shook the resolution of Ignatius and made no 
impression upon him : he told the Provincial modestly 
but firmly that he had determined to remain, and said 
to him : " I count as nothing death and slavery with 
which you seek to terrify me ; only one thing would 
make me leave the Holy Places, and that would be, if I 
should be afraid of offending God by remaining." " Be 
it so," replied the Provincial, "you ought therefore to 
leave, for, by remaining against my will, you would 
certainly commit a sin." At the word sin, Ignatius 
bent his head and submitted. The Provincial then 
offered to show him the patents of the Sovereign 
Pontiff giving him the right to send back pilgrims 
when he considered their stay in Jerusalem to be 
inexpedient. " It is needless," answered Ignatius, " I 
believe your word ; since I should offend God by 
establishing myself here, I will leave," and he left the 
next day. 

2. Mary is more distressed when she sees men offend 
her Son by sin, than she was at seeing Jesus fastened 
to the Cross. 

3. You should turn all your arms against the vice 
by which you feel yourself most strongly pressed, and 
not sound a retreat, until, with God s help, you have 
conquered it. 

4. Although we are bound to abstain from every 
vice, yet we should be more particularly on our guard 
against that to which our nature is most inclined. 
Destruction will come to us from that quarter unless 
we watch ourselves carefully. 

ON SIN. 295 

5. Carelessness about small faults is often more 
dangerous than about greater ones ; when we commit 
the latter, the harm which they do is evident, and is 
at once remarked ; with the former it is not so, and 
the harm done is not perceived until long after. 

6. Few persons would be thoroughly aware of their 
faults, if God Himself did not instruct them in this 

7. He who has gone wrong should not think that all 
is lost on that account ; even our errors may be of 
service to our salvation. 

8. If others go astray through human frailty, let 
them serve as a mirror to us to observe the faults which 
we should overcome in ourselves. 



1. It would be a mistake to measure the progress in 
virtue of any one by his countenance, gestures, natural 
disposition, or love of solitude, whereas it is by the 
violence which he does himself that we ought to judge. 
Ignatius never swerved from this idea of the essence of 
virtue; whenever he had to express himself on the 
subject, he always spoke in this way. He always made 
it consist in warfare with our evil inclinations. We 
have often had occasion to notice this. 

2. " Less learning and more virtue." Ignatius, who 
was then in possession of celestial glory, addressed 
these words to one of his children on the following 
occasion. A young religious had been sent to pursue 
his studies at the Roman College after the probation of 
the novitiate. In him, the love of learning was a detri 
ment to piety, and he employed the time in improving 
himself which he ought to have devoted to his spiritual 
exercises, to the examen of conscience, and to spiritual 
reading, so that whilst enriching his mind he impover 
ished his heart. His fervour was diminishing daily, 
without his being aware of it, and the devil kept him 
in a false security which narrowly escaped being fatal. 
When a person lives apart from the world, and far 
from outward allurement to evil, he may possibly 
indeed stand firm for a time, with ordinary virtue ; but 


should a violent temptation arise, it may easily be seen, 
that in order to repel the enemy and overcome him, 
something more is needed than what was enough to 
guard a place which was unattacked. This was but 
too true with our young religious. When the enemy 
saw that his strength, which, unknown to himself had 
been gradually weakened, was exhausted, he assaulted 
him furiously, and almost made him give in. However, 
the young man, who was really good, and felt himself 
on the point of yielding, had recourse to God, and 
struggled painfully, as best he could. Ignatius, who 
had been dead ten years, took pity on his distress, 
appeared to him, reproached him with paternal severity 
for the unfair preference which he had given to learning 
over piety, represented to him that it was not for this 
end that God had taken him out of the world and called 
him into religion. Then, when leaving him, he said these 
words : " Less learning and more virtue." The young 
man profited by the charitable reprimand of his saintly 
Father, he gained great reputation for holiness, and 
became Assistant for Germany. He died in 1597, and 
related this three days before he expired. 

3. A man of great holiness, but moderate learning, 
preaches more eloquently by his conduct, and attracts 
to virtue more efficaciously by his mere appearance, 
than the most skilful masters of the art of speaking 
could do by their discourses. 

4. Virtue and holiness of life can do everything, or 
much at least, not only with God, but also with men. 

5. The lustre and renown of virtue in a person 
of authority, has more power to attract the multitude 
to the love of virtue than virtue itself. 

6. Few souls understand what God would accom 
plish in them if they were to abandon themselves 


unreservedly to Him, and if they were to allow His 
grace to mould them according to His will. The rough 
and shapeless trunk of a tree could never imagine 
that it may become a beautiful statue, the masterpiece 
of the sculptor, and would never consent to place itself 
under the chisel of him whose genius sees what may 
be made of it : so likewise, many persons, who have 
scarcely anything of the Christian about them, are 
far from imagining that they would become great saints 
if they would not prevent the hand of the Divine 
artist from shaping them as He desires. 

7. Things have the value which God gives them, 
and He gives them value in proportion as they are 
united with Him, Who uses them as an instrument. 

8. "In order that natural qualities may be of use 
to others they must receive their impetus from virtue, 
from it they derive strength to conclude well what 
they have begun. When talent is guided by the 
interior spirit, God blesses its efforts, and places His 
powerful hand upon that of His creature as Eliseus 
did to Joas, and the arrows which it shoots forth no 
longer beat the air in vain, but hit the mark, and 
make salutary wounds in souls." For this reason, 
Ignatius wishing in the tenth part of the Constitutions 
to point out the means best calculated to preserve the 
true spirit of the Society, expresses himself again in 
these terms : "In order to maintain and strengthen 
the spirit of the Society, and to arrive at the super 
natural end which it has in view, the means which 
unite the instrument with God, and dispose it to allow 
itself to be guided by Him, are more efficacious than 
any which the natural order of things could offer : such 
are, for example, probity, virtue, and above all, charity, 
a pure intention to serve God, a sweet familiarity with 
Him in spiritual exercises, true zeal for souls, for the 


glory of their Creator, to Whose interests all else 
should be sacrificed." He valued more highly simple 
men of eminent virtue, than those who possessed great 
learning and other precious gifts, but who were com 
paratively weak in virtue ; nevertheless, he retained the 
latter on account of the use he might make of them for 
certain works. As for those who had nothing in their 
favour but illustrious birth and talents, he freed the 
Society from them ; or at least, he did not allow them, 
to labour for others until they had learnt that they 
were wanting in the essential points for success in the 
ministry, and that their natural advantages, without 
virtue, were but superfluous possessions. 

9. Let all apply themselves earnestly to the study 
of spiritual things and the acquirement of solid and 
perfect virtues, and let them be convinced that these 
are of greater importance than learning and other 
natural gifts, for the former are interior, and from 
them the others, which are exterior, must derive all 
their efficacy for the end which we aim at. 

10. The shortest, and almost the only way to arrive 
at holiness, is to have a horror of all that the world 
loves and embraces. 

11. Each will make greater progress in the spiritual 
life, in proportion as he separates himself from his 
friends and acquaintances, and from all earthly cares. 

12. It is very useful, in order to advance in virtue, 
to have a friend to whom you have given the right to 
warn you of your faults. 

13. To those who will, nothing is difficult, above all, 
nothing which is undertaken from love to our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 



1. "Let idleness, which is the source of all evil, 
be as far as possible banished from our house." One 
day Ignatius saw two or three Brother Coadjutors at 
the door, killing time together, and conversing about 
trifles. He sent for them, and ordered them to carry 
to the garrets as quickly as possible, as if it was a case 
of urgency, a heap of stones which happened to be in 
the courtyard. Several months after, having again 
surprised the same idle Brothers in frivolous conversa 
tion, he told them quietly that when one has given 
oneself to God there is nothing more dangerous than 
to remain idle, and he made them bring down the 
stones which they had previously carried up, desiring 
to make them understand that this labour was given 
them, not on account of its utility, but in order to 
teach them a lesson, and to suggest to them that they 
should go and ask for some suitable employment. 

2. In matters of business, anticipate rather than 
defer. If you promise something for to-morrow, do 
it to-day. 

3. Several matters should not be undertaken simul 
taneously. No one does so much as he who confine 
himself to one thing, provided he devotes himsel 
completely to it. 


4. One day when I was with Father Ignatius, 
relates Ribadeneira, we met a Brother Coadjutor who 
was setting about his work somewhat carelessly. " My 
Brother," said the Servant of God, " what was your 
object in entering religion, and what are you aiming 
at now in doing your work?" " Father," replied the 
latter, " I entered the Society in order to serve God 
better, and it is to promote His glory that I perform 
this and all my other actions." " Indeed," answered 
Ignatius, "if it is for God s glory that you fulfil your 
office, and do so in such a manner, you deserve a 
severe penance. To be wanting in zeal when one is 
only labouring for men, is not, after all, such a great 
sin, and perhaps deserves some indulgence ; but what 
is shocking, and what I cannot excuse in you, is that, 
knowing yourself bound to labour for the Divine 
Majesty, our duties towards Whom we are unable by 
our most strenuous efforts ever to discharge as we 
ought, you do not even perform what you might do 
with a little good will. Do you not know that the 
Scripture says : * Cursed be he that doth the work of 
the Lord negligently ? 

5. We ought to labour with all our might to attain 
the end which we aim at, in order that when we have 
once entered upon the path of perfection, we may reach 
its greatest heights. 

6. Sloth, negligence, lukewarmness, and idleness 
are the school for every sin and vice. 

7. Though I see that you are running in the way 
of God, still I feel inclined to spur you on ; for I can 
truthfully say to you, ... if your correspondence ought 
to equal your obligation, there must be nothing short 
of extraordinary progress on your part, that you may 
be men who excel in doctrine and perfection. 

3 02 


For the love of Jesus Christ, forgetting the past, 
after the example of St. Paul, keep your eyes ever 
fixed upon the distance you have yet to traverse in the 
path of virtue. 

Regard as open enemies of your soul, negligence, 
cowardice, and sloth, which chill and weaken the 
desire to advance in spiritual life and knowledge. 

Put before you as patterns for imitation, not the 
weak and cowardly, but the courageous and fervent. 

You should blush at being surpassed by the children 
of the world, who are more solicitous to gain the things 
of time than you are to gain those of eternity. Be 
ashamed at seeing them hastening more quickly to 
death than you do to life. Esteem yourselves men 
capable of doing little, if a courtier, in order to win 
the favour of an earthly prince, serves him more 
faithfully than you do the King of Heaven ; and if 
a soldier, for passing glory and for the wretched share 
of booty which he expects after a victory, struggles 
with the enemy, and fights more valiantly than you do 
to conquer the devil, the world, and yourself, and to 
gain by that victory Heaven and everlasting glory. 

I entreat you, therefore, by the love which you have 
for our Lord Jesus Christ, to be neither cowardly nor 
negligent. The bow breaks if it is stretched too far, 
but the soul is lost by relaxation ; whilst the Scripture 
says, " The soul of those that labour shall be filled 
with riches." 

Be careful, therefore, to revive and maintain in you 
holy fervour, that you may give yourselves entirely 
to the study of perfection and learning. Be certain 
of this, that in both, one act animated by such fervour 
makes a man advance further than a thousand produced 
in a cowardly manner, and that what a negligent 
person acquires with difficulty in several years, is 
obtained in a short time by the fervent. 


In the matter of learning, there is a manifest differ 
ence between the studious and the negligent ; and there 
is the same difference in what concerns progress in 
virtue, and victory over the weakness to which our nature 
is subject. For, as is plain to all, the slothful, because 
they will not fight with themselves, never arrive, or at 
least arrive very late, at true peace of soul, or at the 
possession of any virtue, whilst, on the other hand, the 
fervent and courageous arrive quickly at both. 

As to cheerfulness, in so far as we can have it in 
this life, experience teaches us likewise that it is not 
the slothful, but the fervent in God s service who enjoy 
it. The reason is plain : the latter, who have laboured 
from the first to conquer themselves, and to destroy 
self-love, tear up the roots of all disorderly passions, 
as well as the roots of all the torments and sufferings 
which proceed from the disorder of such passions. 
They plant in their souls in place of them, habits of 
virtue, and by them they succeed in acting almost 
naturally, with great joy and facility, thus disposing 
themselves to enjoy the holy delights of God, Who 
consoles them with the most paternal tenderness : for 
it is to him that overcomes that the hidden manna will 
be given. For the contrary reason, sloth is the parent 
of a life of constant discontent, because it will not 
allow the roots of discontent, that is self-love, to be 
eradicated, and it renders itself unworthy of receiving 
the favours of Divine love. For this reason you should 
perform your praiseworthy exercises with holy fervour 
because, even in this life, you will experience their good 
effects not only by the perfection of your souls, but 
also by your contentment in this present life. 

8. Strive with all your might to attain the end to 
which you are called, and with a view to which God 
has given you such liberal pay. 


This pay is whatever you possess in the order of 
nature, all that you are, and all that you can do, 
because it has been given to you by Him, and He 
preserves and sustains it ; it is being, life, the soul 
with all its powers and perfections, and the body with 
its exterior advantages. 

This pay is the spiritual riches of grace which He 
bestows upon you with such benignity and liberality, 
and with which He enriches you daily, as if you had 
never been enemies nor rebels. 

This pay is the incomparable riches of glory which 
He secures to you by His sure promise, and which 
apart from any self-interest which could result to Him 
from it, He has in readiness for you, and with which 
He desires to enrich you, by making you share the 
treasures of His own felicity, that, participating in His 
Divine perfections, you may be through the union of 
charity what He is by nature. 

This pay is, lastly, the great universe with all that 
it contains of beings corporeal and spiritual, who have 
all received the command to serve you. 

As if all this collection of riches, in spite of its 
magnificence, was yet as nothing, or counted for little, 
He has given us Himself, which alone remained, for 
our pay, making Himself our brother according to the 
flesh, our ransom on the Cross, our food in the Holy 
Eucharist, and the companion of our pilgrimage. We 
exclaim involuntarily, how cowardly, how base, is the 
soldier who, in face of such a great reward, is not 
stirred to labour for the service and honour of so liberal 
and worthy a Prince. 

Besides, what claims He has to our service on 
account of the signal benefits which He has conferred 
upon us : how dear these benefits cost Him ; for, when 
He prepared to perform things worthy of His love, He 
seemed, as we may say, to forget that He was God,. 


and dispossessed Himself of His infinite felicity, to 
render us sharers in it, and to associate us with it 
as companions, taking upon Him our miseries, and 
burdening Himself with them to remove them from our 
shoulders ; choosing to be sold in order to ransom us, 
to suffer infamy in order to glorify us, to live poor to 
enrich us, to die in shame and torment as a convict 
in order to give us everlasting life and the happiness 
of Heaven. He is indeed inexpressibly ungrateful, 
and the greatest rebel at heart, who does not yield 
before all this, and who does not recognize the obli 
gation he is under to devote his services to the honour 
and glory of Jesus Christ. 

But you, if you perceive this, and if you feel 
kindled with the desires which your obligation to 
devote your life to the increase of God s honour and 
service should produce within you, you live at a time 
when you can show by your works the efficacy of your 
desires. If we cast a glance at the world : Where is 
the majesty of God adored now ? Where is His 
sovereign greatness respected ? Where are His infinite 
goodness and infinite patience known ? Where is His 
holy will performed ? You see, with much sorrow, in 
how many places His Holy Name is ignored or else 
despised and blasphemed ; and how the teaching of 
Jesus Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, is rejected, His 
example forgotten, and the price of His Blood wasted 
in a manner for us, considering the small number of 
those who seek their salvation therein. 

Consider at the same time men who are your brethren, 
images of the Most Holy Trinity, created to share its 
glory, served by the universe that they might attain this 
end, temples of the Holy Ghost, members of Jesus 
Christ, redeemed by Him at the price of so many 
sufferings, and so much shame and blood; behold 
into what an abyss of wretchedness, into what a depth 


of darkness they are plunged, how the storms of 
vain desires, idle fears, and other passions toss them 
furiously, and keep them in constant peril. See what 
a number of visible and invisible enemies attack them, 
and how they are ever in danger of losing, not temporal 
life and perishable riches, but a kingdom and happiness 
which are endless, and of falling into the intolerable 
misery of eternal fire. After such a glance at the 
world, . . . you will understand that it is your duty 
to use every means, and to labour with all possible 
earnestness, in order to become worthy instruments 
of Divine grace. 

9. A precious crown awaits those in Heaven who 
perform their actions with all the care of which they 
are capable, for it is not enough to do good works, we 
must also do them well. 

10. In the letter to the scholastics at Coimbra, 
from which we have quoted several passages, Ignatius 
had endeavoured to inspire those young persons with 
the zeal which consumed himself, for promoting the 
glory of God and the salvation of souls. But with his 
habitual prudence, fearing that some amongst them, 
yielding to the impatience of an indiscreet zeal, might 
make a mistake, and consider the time as lost which 
obedience commanded them to spend in retirement 
for instruction, he takes care, in concluding, to caution 
them against such a thought. He neglects nothing in 
order to regulate their good-will and to make them 
understand well that, for the time, true fervour con 
sists essentially for them in acquiring knowledge, and 
practising themselves in perfection, because in applying 
themselves to study and to the practice of their present 
duties they are already labouring very efficaciously for 
the honour of God and the good of their neighbour. 
He expresses himself thus : " During the time of your 


studies, beware of thinking that you are of no use for 
the spiritual progress of your brethren. For, besides 
-the strengthening of your souls in virtue, as well- 
regulated charity demands, you can co-operate in 
various ways in the glory of God and the salvation of 
your neighbour. First, by your work, and by the 
intention with which you undertake and continue it, 
which is to help others when the time comes. Who 
can say that soldiers, when occupied in preparing their 
weapons, and providing themselves with ammunition 
for battle, are not labouring in their Prince s service ? 
Even if any of you were to die before leaving such 
retirement to labour outside for the salvation of 
souls, he would not on that account lose the merit of 
the work for which he was there preparing himself. 
You should daily offer this preparation to God, that 
you may afterwards work in His good time ; and if it 
should please the Divine Majesty to accept it, it may 
avail no less for the salvation of souls than preaching 
and confessions. The second way of helping your 
neighbour during your studies, is to make yourselves 
inwardly holy and virtuous ; for the more you are so, 
the more you will make others so. For this reason: 
that God usually acts in the economy of grace, in 
due proportion, as He acts in the economy of nature. 
As, in order to communicate natural life, is needed, 
as philosophy and experience teach us, independently 
of general causes, an immediate agent of the same 
species which transmits to the subject the form which 
is to be produced ; so, in the order of grace, Divine 
wisdom has established, that those which it uses as 
instruments and as the cause to give to others humility, 
patience, charity, and the other virtues, should first 
be themselves humble, patient, and charitable. Thus, 
I repeat, you are serving your neighbour, whilst you 
are rendering yourselves instruments capable of serving 


him, by adorning yourselves with learning and virtue 
as far as is necessary to render you perfect in both. 
The third way of helping your neighbour, is the 
example of a good life. As I said at the beginning of 
this letter, the good odour which by the grace of God 
you spread, edifies and consoles not only the kingdom 
of Portugal, but also the other kingdoms which it 
reaches. . . . The last way of helping our neighbour, 
which spreads and expands without limit, is that of 
good desires. By them you can supply sufficiently 
what the time occupied in study does not yet permit 
you to perform." 


1. A good life far surpasses learning, whether for 
receiving or communicating the gifts of the Holy 

2. God would be disposed to do us many favours,. 
if our perverse will did not hinder His liberality. 

3. As he who endeavours to repel a bad thought^ 
prepares for himself a great reward in Heaven, so, by 
not obeying holy inspirations, we expose ourselves to 
fall into great evils. 

4. There is this difference between a pious and 
a worldly man : the former abstains from earthly 
pleasures, but abounds with spiritual consolations ; 
the latter seeks his joy in outward things, but is 
inwardly tormented. 

5. I hear in my innermost heart a secret but voice 
less music, a certain harmony, yet without sound, and 



It seems to me so sweet that nothing in the world can 
be compared with it. 

6. Be convinced of this, Polanco, that it would be 
impossible for me to explain properly one out of the 
numberless favours which Divine liberality has lavished 
on my soul. I should find no one who could understand 

7. From the time of his conversion to the end of 
his life, Ignatius received the most astonishing favours 
from Heaven, celestial apparitions, revelations, ecsta 
sies, luminous rays which shone from his person, the 
gift of tears, the gift of healing the sick, the knowledge 
of things future, a clear sight of events which occurred 
at a distance at the moment they took place, the know 
ledge of hearts, simultaneous presence in two places at 
a considerable distance from each other, empire over 
the devils, &c. We know comparatively little of what 
was granted him in this respect, his humility having 
taken all kinds of precautions to conceal it from us. 
Nevertheless Divine Providence has allowed something 
to transpire ; and we know enough to state without fear 
of error, that he was in no way surpassed, in this 
respect, by those saints whom God has most highly 

Scarcely had he formed the design of giving himself 
entirely to God, than our Lady, holding her Child in 
her arms, appeared to him, and remained long with 
him, filling him with consolations, and showing him 
that she, and her Divine Son, accepted the offering of 
his person, giving him in return the gift of perfect 
chastity, which nothing ever again disturbed. 

8. During the months which Ignatius passed at 
Manresa, our Lord appeared to him very often, and 
from time to time the Blessed Virgin granted him the 
same favour. " I cannot say precisely," he admitted 


to Father Gonzalez, " but if I were to affirm that these 
precious visits were repeated twenty or forty times, I 
should not be wrong." The loftiest mysteries of the 
natural and supernatural order were by turns mani 
fested to him. One day especially, when he was sitting 
by the Cardenero, which flows past the gates of 
Manresa, all that had previously been revealed to him 
was put before him in a new light and in one picture. 
His mind was inundated with such abundant light, that 
to him the truths of faith seemed to have lost all their 
obscurity. Speaking a short time before his death of 
this extraordinary communication, he said : " All that 
I have since learnt in the revelations which I have ha 
during my whole life, is nothing in comparison." 

9. When traversing Italy on foot, and begging, on 
the way from Rome to Venice, where he was to embark 
for Jerusalem, Ignatius was often obliged to spend the 
night in the open air, exposed to the severity of the 
the weather. Pestilence was then ravaging the country, 
and the pale and weary face of the poor pilgrim, 
extenuated by fatigue added to his penances, made 
him readily suspected of being attacked by the 
dreaded scourge. One night when he was thus left 
shelterless at the gates of Padua, with no bed but the 
ground, and no roof but the heavens, he began to pray. 
Our Lord came to strengthen him, as He had done at 
Manresa, exhorting him to endure his present suffer 
ings, and even greater, and promising to assist him 
that he might reach Venice in safety. 

10. The day before he was to leave Jerusalem to 
return to Europe, Ignatius, wishing to venerate for the 
last time the holy mountain from which our Lord had 
ascended to Heaven, went there alone. The Superior 
of the Franciscans, having noticed his absence, and 
fearing that he might be in danger from the Turks, 


sent a servant from the convent after him to bring him 
back. This brutal man was enraged with the Servant 
of God when he came up with him, threatened him 
with his stick, and taking him by the arm, dragged 
him violently to the monastery. Ignatius perceived 
nothing, so intoxicated was he with the joy which the 
sight of his Divine Master caused him, appearing 
above his head, brilliant with glory, accompanying 
him the whole way, and walking before him as if to 
show him the path. 

11. The most memorable of our Lord s apparitions 
to Ignatius was that with which he was favoured when 
going from Venice to Rome to place his Society at the 
disposal of the Sovereign Pontiff. The account has 
already been given in detail in a preceding page. 

12. During his first stay at Barcelona, Ignatius was 
in a church, sitting upon the steps of the altar, with a 
number of children, listening to a sermon. A noble 
and pious lady, Isabel Rosel, who had also come to 
hear the sermon, happened to look that way, and saw, 
to her great surprise, as she related to me, says Father 
Ribadeneira, the countenance of the Servant of God, 
encircled with brilliant light, and shooting forth bright 
rays in all directions. She heard at the same time an 
inward voice saying to her: "Call him, call him!" 
Which she did, after having informed her husband of 
what had happened. From that time she became a 
great benefactress to Ignatius. 

13. During his second stay at Barcelona, Ignatius 
lived in the house of Agnes Pascal, with whom Isabel 
Rosel had probably placed him. The youthful son of 
Agnes, John Pascal, with the curiosity usual to his age, 
sometimes got up during the night to observe what 
Ignatius was doing in his room, and, through the 
chinks in the door, he saw him with his arms extended, 


sometimes kneeling, at others prostrate, with his face 
always inflamed, and often bathed in tears, and he 
heard him sigh softly, and address earnest exclamations 
to God. Besides this, he often saw him raised several 
handbreadths from the ground, encircled with light 
which illuminated the whole room. At a later time, 
this same Pascal, then the father of a family, told his 
children, weeping, that if they knew what he had seen 
of Ignatius, they would never be weary of kissing the 
floor and walls of the apartment which the holy man 
had inhabited. 

Heavenly favours sought out the Servant of God 
not only in the privacy of his modest cell, in spite of 
the precautions which he used to keep them from the 
knowledge of others, but they sometimes betrayed him 
in public, without it being in his power to conceal them. 
This was particularly the case at Barcelona, in the 
Church of the Hieronymite Nuns. He had been 
immoveable in prayer like a stone for three hours, 
near the altar of St. Matthew. Suddenly, they saw 
ihim rise from the ground still kneeling, and remain 
suspended in the air, his face radiant with joy. 

14. When Ignatius had finished his studies at Paris, 
lie went for a short time to Spain and signalized his 
presence there by healing several sick persons. Not 
withstanding the pressing solicitations of his relations, 
he had not consented to stay at the Castle of Loyola, 
and had, as usual, withdrawn to the hospital. He, 
who restored others to health, was attacked by a very 
dangerous illness, and he could not prevent two noble 
ladies, his cousins, Maria de Oriola and Simonne de 
Alzaga, from installing themselves near him to bestow 
upon him the care which he needed. One evening, 
before leaving him to go to rest, they lighted a torch so 
as not to let him remain in darkness. Ignatius begged 


them to extinguish it ; but they were unwilling to do 
so, alleging that he might need it. Ignatius, however, 
insisted, saying to them: " If I have need of seeing, 
cannot God provide me with a torch ? " They were 
therefore obliged to yield to his wish, and to leave him 
in darkness. The Saint, to whom illness or health 
mattered little as to conversing with God, profited by 
his solitude to pray. His fervour was such that, no 
longer able to restrain the eagerness which devoured 
him, he uttered sighs, and allowed burning aspirations 
to escape from him which soon became loud cries. At 
this noise, the two ladies hastened to his room, and 
found it flooded with brilliant light. Ignatius, much 
confused at being thus surprised, conjured them 
earnestly never to allude to the sight which they had 

15. The following fact of a similar nature was 
deposed upon oath before a notary, by the cele 
brated Doctor Alexander Petronio, the doctor and 
intimate friend of the Saint. He waited, to relate it, 
until after the death of the Saint, and spoke of it 
to Father Oliver Manare on the following occasion. 
Father Oliver Manare had gone to visit a sick prelate, 
and met there several doctors, and amongst them 
Petronio. The conversation turned upon Ignatius, 
and Petronio, turning towards Manare, said to him : 
4t Father Oliver, I know something about Ignatius 
which probably you and the other Fathers of your 
Order are ignorant of, for I have hitherto refrained 
from divulging it. I was ill, and Father Ignatius had 
come to see me. It was an unfavourable moment 
for a visit, but on account of our special relation, the 
servants made no difficulty about allowing the Father 
to enter. He entered my apartment, and, finding the 
windows closed, supposed that I was resting. He 


therefore approached my bed as quietly as possible, 
sat by my pillow for some time, and having ascertained 
that I was asleep, wished to leave me undisturbed, and 
withdrew as quietly as he had come. I awoke, however, 
and seeing my room filled with light, I exclaimed: 
* What is this ? Whence proceeds this dazzling light? 
My wife hastened to me, and assured me that there was 
no light, and that the windows were quite closed, but 
that Ignatius had been there for an instant. On hearing 
that Ignatius had been, I felt great joy, and shortly 
afterwards was completely restored to health." 

1 6. St. Philip Neri, who often came to consult 
Ignatius, and maintained the most cordial relations 
with him, declared that his countenance seemed to him 
habitually resplendent with light. In 1593, long after 
the death of Ignatius, St. Philip, who was still living,, 
having met Father Oliver Manare, and the conversa 
tion having turned upon the portraits of the Founder of 
the Society of Jesus, the founder of the Oratory said to 
the Father : " Do you believe, Father Oliver, that the 
portrait which you have in your house is really the 
portrait of your Father?" "Oh no," replied Manare, 
" far from it. Because, in his humility, the Servant of 
God would never consent, when living, to sit to a painter. 
After his death, the Society did what it could to repro 
duce his likeness, but we have not succeeded in 
obtaining a portrait which is a perfect resemblance." 
" I think so too," answered St. Philip, " but for another 
reason. His face shone with such brilliancy, that even 
if a skilful painter had succeeded in delineating his 
features, he would not have found colours to render 
truthfully the bright radiance of his countenance." 

17. The heart and the eyes have a sympathetic 
connection, and when the emotions of the heart reach a 
certain degree of intensity, they naturally show them- 


selves by tears. Now the heart is susceptible of two 
very different kinds of emotions. According to diver 
sity of circumstances, it experiences painful emotions 
and pleasant emotions, whence it follows that there are 
also two sorts of tears : some are bitter, like the sorrow 
which causes them to flow ; others are sweet and 
delightful, like the joy and happiness which they 
express. The latter, which are shed during prayer, 
have always been esteemed precious by the saints, to 
whom God has often granted them, even more in order 
to sustain and excite their fervour than to reward it ; 
they are like a foretaste of everlasting felicity and con 
stitute a special grace, which is called the gift of tears. 
This gift was not denied to Ignatius any more than to 
others, and he had received it in such abundance that 
unless God had helped him in an especial manner it 
would have been fatal to him. 

1 8. One day when he was celebrating the Holy 
Mysteries, after the Memento, Father Nicholas Lanoi, 
who was assisting at his Mass, raising his eyes 
by chance, perceived a great flame rising above his 
head. Terrified at the sight, and wishing to avert the 
danger with which he thought him threatened, he 
rushed forward to extinguish the flame, but was in 
an instant reassured, by seeing that quiet tears were 
falling slowly from the eyes of Ignatius, that he felt no 
harm, and was miraculously wrapped in ecstasy. 

19. While saying Mass, Ignatius sighed and wept 
almost at every word. On this account, and also 
because, in spite of all his efforts, it was impossible 
for him to finish the Divine Mysteries in the half-hour 
which he had prescribed to his children to occupy with 
out exceeding, he was obliged to give up celebrating in 
public. Rather a curious incident once happened to 
him concerning this. One Christmas Day he had come 


to St. John Lateran, and was offering the Holy Sacrifice 
at the altar where the precious relics of St. Peter, 
St. Paul, and St. Andrew are venerated. He was soon 
seized with such tender devotion that, not being able 
to contain himself, he continued weeping until the end. 
One of the people, surprised at this spectacle, and 
attributing it to quite a wrong cause, went up after the 
Mass to Father Francis Strada, who had been assisting 
the Servant of God, and said to him in a low voice : 
" What a wretch your priest is ! he must be very guilty 
and cruelly tormented by remorse of conscience, not to 
have been able to help weeping thus for his crimes all 
the time he was at the altar." 

20. Prayer produced the same wonderful effects 
upon Ignatius, as is shown by a few leaves which 
escaped, in spite of his care, from the destruction to 
which they had been condemned by his desire for 
obscurity. Every day, for the thirty years which 
elapsed after his conversion, he wrote down exactly 
the graces which he received from Heaven, in order to 
retain the remembrance of them, and to testify his 
gratitude to God. Towards the close of his life, fearing 
the revelations which might be made after his death 
by the precious manuscript which he had made the 
depository of his innermost secrets, he threw into the 
fire all he could find ; however, Providence allowed, 
for our edification, some fragments, forty pages embra 
cing a period of about four months, to escape his 
search. The following are amongst the contents : 

" The tears which I shed to-day seemed to me very 
different from those which I shed other days. They 
followed slowly and gently, without noise or agitation ; 
they proceeded from a source which is so deep that I 
do not know how to explain it. Everything excited me 
to love God, both the interior word, and what I heard 


from without ; but these Divine words had a certain 
harmony which so penetrated my innermost soul that I 
am unable to express it. 

"On the morrow, many tears like the preceding day r 
and likewise after Mass. I then felt a secret joy pro 
duced by the interior word ; and this speech seemed 
like a heavenly voice or music. The ardour of devotion 
increased in me in proportion as I wept, perceiving that 
I knew and heard in a manner which was quite Divine. 

" Asking the Blessed Virgin, to be favourable to me 
with her Son and with the Eternal Father, and then 
asking the Son of God to intercede for me together 
with His Holy Mother with His Divine Father, I saw 
myself raised to the presence of the Heavenly Father, 
and I felt my hair stand on end. I began my prayer 
with great abundance of tears, passionate devotion, and 
several invocations of the Most Holy Trinity. These 
illuminations were so frequent and so sweet that 
memory and understanding fail me to declare them. 

" I have experienced such abundance of Divine illu 
minations, heavenly visits, and spiritual savours accom 
panied by constant tears, that whenever I uttered the 
word God and Lord, it seemed to me that I was pene 
trated by them, with a certain respectful submission 
which it seems impossible to describe. 

" After my prayer, I had extraordinary movements, 
nothing but sobs and tears ; I was completely melted 
with love for Jesus Christ, and I wished to die with 
Him rather than to live with any one else." 

The Servant of God used to spend a considerable 
time in reciting the Breviary, and the tears which he 
then shed forced him to make frequent pauses. This 
was because, while others glide along like a ship upon 
the ocean, without noticing the treasures concealed in 
the deep, he plunged into the depths of each verse, and 
drew from it fresh knowledge of God and of heavenly 


things. These constant tears almost made him lose 
his sight, and even endangered his life by the exhaustion 
which they caused. The doctors had to warn him of 
the risk he ran, and Paul III. being informed of it, 
substituted, in his case, a certain number of short 
prayers for the recitation of the Office. 

He did not need to pray, in order to be moved in 
this way ; the sight of the heavens, the spectacle of 
nature, the melody of a canticle which reached his ears, 
word uttered in his presence which revealed some 
pious thought, was enough, and his eyes were imme 
diately flooded. He was at last obliged to yield to 
the entreaties of his brethren, who trembled for his 
preservation, and to beg God to arrest the flow of his 
extraordinary favours. He then obtained what he 
asked, and God granted him such absolute command 
over his tears, that he let them flow or restrained them 
at will, but with this advantage, that when they were 
checked by his will, spiritual delights did not cease 
to inundate his soul. 

21. After the death of Ignatius, God was often 
pleased to restore to health the most hopeless invalids 
who had recourse to his intercession ; but He did not 
wait until His faithful servant had entered into glory 
to make him the depositary of His power in this 
respect. While still on earth, Ignatius often brought 
back from the verge of the tomb some of his brethren 
whom human science had given up and condemned to 
death. The following is one of the first facts produced 
at the process of his canonization by the Auditors of 
the Rota. Several of his biographers have, not without 
reason, recognized therein a real resurrection ; others, 
without going so far as to affirm this, have felt 
themselves bound to admit therein the effect of signal 
grace. At Barcelona, two brothers named Lysan were 


contending for a considerable sum, and mortally hated 
each other. One of them was so grieved at having 
lost the lawsuit, that he hung himself from a beam 
in his house. The servants, having found their master 
hanging, the whole neighbourhood came at their cries. 
Ignatius, who was returning from the Monastery of the 
Angels, entered with the rest, and himself caused the 
cord to be cut by which the wretched man was still 
hanging. He was found motionless and pulseless, and 
notwithstanding all that they could do to him, showed 
no signs of life. Ignatius, touched by the grievous 
state of Lysan s soul, knelt down by the body, and by 
a strong inspiration, asked God in a loud, distinct 
voice for enough life for the wretched man to confess. 
His prayer was granted, and in the presence of a crowd 
of people, who, astonished at such a prayer, waited 
impatiently to see the result, Lysan regained conscious 
ness, and, that there might be no doubt that Heaven 
had given life to the dead at the prayer of Ignatius, 
he died as soon as he had finished his confession. 

22. When Ignatius returned to Spain after finishing 
his studies at Paris, they brought to him, at Azpeitia, 
a woman of rank, who was wasted by consumption, 
and seemed at the point of death. When she reached 
his presence, she entreated him to bless her, hoping 
thereby to obtain the cure of her infirmity. At first he 
did not consent, alleging that what was asked was 
the exercise of a sacerdotal prerogative which did not 
appertain to him, since he was not yet a priest. Never 
theless, urged by the entreaties of the multitude, and 
touched with compassion for this unhappy person, he 
ended by doing what she desired. His blessing at once 
restored the sick person to health, and she was so com 
pletely recovered that she was able to go back to her 
native place on foot. In her gratitude, she afterwards 


returned to bring some fruit to her benefactor ; he 
accepted it in order not to vex her, but hastened to- 
bestow it upon the poor in the hospital. 

23. During his last sojourn in Spain, Ignatius, 
when at Azpeitia, would only lodge in the Hospital 
of St. Magdalene. There was in this hospital a poor 
epileptic named Bastida, who, for several years, had 
been frequently tormented by this dreadful disease. 
Ignatius one day witnessed a long and cruel attack. 
The Servant of God, touched with compassion, looked 
up to heaven, offered a short prayer, and put his hand 
upon his head. Bastida came to himself at once, and 
was so completely cured of his disease, that he never 
suffered from it again. 

24. It was not only the hands of Ignatius which 
worked these wonderful cures, but, unknown to him, 
objects which he had used possessed the same healing 
virtue. From veneration to the Saint, and in hopes 
of obtaining a cure, a woman, whose arm was com 
pletely dead, having asked leave to wash the clothes of 
Ignatius, was cured in a moment while fulfilling this act 
of charity. 

25. Ignatius and his companions had made a vow 
at Paris to go to Palestine, if, during the course of 
a year, they found means to do so. In order not to 
lose the opportunity of fulfilling this vow, they had all 
met, within reach of the sea, in the State of Venice, 
labouring meanwhile, each on his part, in the different 
cities of that State. Ignatius was at Vicenza, with 
Faber, when he heard that Rodriguez was seriously ill 
at Bassano, and that the doctor had given up all hopes 
of his life. He set off immediately with Faber, and 
though he himself had fever at the time, he walked so 
rapidly that Faber, healthy and robust as he was, could 
not keep up with him. Profiting by the distance he 


had gained upon his companion, he left the road for 
a moment, and having begun to pray for Rodriguez, 
received the assurance from God of his recovery. 
Soon rejoining Faber he said to him, " Peter, let us no 
longer be anxious about Rodriguez, the dangerous 
illness which has attacked him will not take him from 
us." After having travelled in a day the eighteen 
miles which separate Vicenza from Bassano, they 
arrived, and found Rodriguez dying. He took him 
tenderly in his arms, and greeted him with these words : 
" Brother Simon, banish all fear, you will recover." 
Rodriguez, in fact, was speedily cured. 

26. There was in Rome a man of eminent piety, 
named Peter Ferrus, who, under the appearance of 
ordinary life, practised all the virtues of a fervent 
religious. He had been brought to extremities by a 
malignant fever from which he had been suffering for 
two months, and human science confessed itself unable 
to restore him to health. Ignatius often visited him, 
exhorted him to patience, and gave him hopes of 
recovery. However, the sick man seemed to have 
reached his last moments, and he had just received the 
Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction, when Ignatius, 
appearing once more, assured him that he would not 
die, and spoke to him of his approaching cure in a tone 
which might give reason to believe that such a cure 
had been revealed to him. The following night, when 
Peter was wide awake, a Lady of venerable aspect, 
clothed in a robe of dazzling whiteness, and accom 
panied by a troup of young girls of great beauty, 
appeared to him and said: "Peter, do you wish to 
recover?" "Certainly," replied the invalid, "and I 
should be glad if such should be the good pleasure of 
God and of His Holy Mother," The Lady then gave 
him a small picture of our Lady, as she is venerated 


in the sanctuary of Grotta Ferrata, at some distance 
from the city, and told him to place it upon his heart. 
Peter obeyed, and fell asleep. On the morrow, the 
doctor came to see how his patient was, expecting to 
find him dead. He entered, and perceiving that he 
slept, he felt his pulse, and exclaimed: " What a 
miracle ! " He then withdrew, desiring them to let him 
sleep as long as he would. Peter awoke at last, feeling 
no pain, the fever had gone, and he was completely 
cured. He looked for the picture, but in vain ; however, 
he needed it no more, for the features of our Lady had 
engraved themselves so deeply upon his mind, that 
their outward reproduction was to him henceforth 
unnecessary. In due time Ignatius arrived, his coun 
tenance more joyful than usual, as if he was already 
aware of what had occurred ; he asked Peter how he 
felt. " Perfectly well," replied the latter. " Did not I 
tell you," answered Ignatius, " that the Mother of God 
would cure you?" Peter was certain that Ignatius 
had obtained his life for him by prayer addressed to 
the Madonna in his favour, and he deposed this on 

27. The cook at the Professed House in Rome was a 
Brother named John Baptist, a man of great simplicity 
and very earnest in mortifying himself. His office not 
only gave him much occupation, but also furnished him 
with frequent opportunities of meditating on the ever 
lasting torments of the damned and on the grievous- 
ness of sin which causes such dreadful sufferings. 
Absorbed in such thoughts, and penetrated with horror 
at the remembrance of the life which he had formerly 
led in the world, he was so enraged with himself one 
day, that completely forgetting himself, he plunged his 
hand into the fire of his stove and kept it there until it 
was almost consumed. The Father Minister happened 


to pass the kitchen, and, perceiving the bad smell 
which proceeded from it, entered to find out the cause. 
He questioned the Brother ; the latter, overcome with 
pain, and beginning to understand the gravity of the 
indiscretion of which he had been guilty, admitted it 
frankly, and fell on his knees to ask his pardon. The 
whole house heard what had happened, and they came 
to tell Ignatius. Almost all the Fathers wished to 
dismiss from the house a man who, through his impru 
dence, had made himself incapable of rendering hence 
forth any service to the Society ; but the Servant of 
God thought otherwise. Moved with pity for the poor 
Brother, and thinking that his fault was more deserving 
of indulgence than of punishment, he spent a consider 
able part of the night in praying for him, and soliciting 
his cure. He did this so efficaciously, that the next 
day the Brother s hand was quite well, and retained no 
traces of the accident. 

28. The more Ignatius sought to efface and humble 
himself during the few months that he spent in his 
native place at Azpeitia, the more it seemed that God 
chose to exalt and glorify him in the eyes of his fellow- 
citizens. God not only granted him the power to heal 
the sick and to drive out devils, but also aided him in 
such a manner in his apostolical labours that those who 
witnessed it saw therein a real miracle. The Saint 
used to preach every Sunday, and two or three times 
during the week. People soon came from all parts of 
the province, and the concourse was so great that no 
church could contain the crowd. The people were 
obliged to meet in the open air ; they gathered round 
him as best they could, and those who could not get 
near enough climbed the trees. Although he had not 
yet quite recovered, and his voice was weak, he spoke 
for two or three hours, and none of his hearers lost one 


of his words, which reached those furthest off quite 
distinctly, who were at a distance of more than three 
hundred paces. 

29. Ignatius showed on several occasions that God 
laid open consciences to him, and enabled him to read 
hearts. A young novice had become a prey to dee p 
melancholy, his employment had become unbearable 
to him, he could not sleep, and had begun to think of 
abandoning his vocation. Ignatius was supernaturally 
aware of his state, and one night when the novice was 
in bed, and sleepless, overcome with sorrow, he sent to 
tell him to get up and come to him. The young man, 
who was as if beside himself, appeared ; and Ignatius 
seeming to know nothing of his agitation, asked him 
what he would recommend to a person who was 
tormented by such and such temptations. Talking 
quietly with him, he disclosed to him, little by little, 
what was passing in his soul, pointed out to him the 
means of overcoming his difficulties, and succeeded in 
restoring his peace. This was not the only time that 
he acted thus. Having often to deal with persons who 
were incapable of explaining what they felt, he des 
cribed clearly the ill from which they were suffering, 
pointed out to them the cause, and then set before 
them the remedy. 

30. One of the first companions of the Servant of 
God was one day attacked by a violent temptation 
against his vocation. He had had dealings with a 
saintly hermit who lived near Bassano, and comparing 
the calm, tranquil life of the latter, ever occupied with 
God, with the life of warfare which he had himself 
embraced, he conceived the idea of changing his state 
of life and retiring into some distant desert after the 
example of that virtuous solitary. He said to himself r 
" In remaining with Ignatius I must expect incessant 


labours for my body, and innumerable dangers for my 
soul ! Always in the world, for ever working for the 
service of others, I have no leisure to think of myself, 
and when I return to the house I rarely bring back the 
recollection which I took so much trouble to acquire. 
My brethren, no doubt, who have entered on the same 
career, pursue it uninjured, and do not think of aban 
doning it, but their condition is far different, their 
virtue is more firmly established than mine, and they 
have received more abundant graces ; would it not be 
better, on the other hand, for rne, who am aware of my 
weakness, to depart from the turmoil of a ministry, in 
which I meet with more fatigue than merit, and to 
place myself in the shelter of a retreat which would 
offer fewer dangers and more repose ? " He was much 
inclined to take this course, but on the other side the 
remembrance of his vow, the high opinion which he 
had formed of Ignatius, and the wrench which it would 
cause him to forsake the companions whose tender 
charity he had so often experienced, held him back. 
He did not know what to do. To clear away his 
doubts he resolved to consult the hermit, and went out 
with this intention. Scarcely had he left the town 
when a man of terrible aspect and gigantic size 
appeared before him, sword in hand. At first he was 
overcome by fear, but thinking that his eyes deceived 
him, he wished to pursue his way. The man then, trans 
ported with fury, looked at him wrathfully, threatened 
him with his sword, and seemed so ready to stab him, 
that the fugitive, terrified and trembling, ran quickly 
towards the town and re-entered his abode as fast as 
possible. They were all amazed at his fear and at his 
flight, for they did not see what could have produced 
such terror. But Ignatius, to whom God had revealed 
it all, came to him, and at once held out his arms, with 
a kind smile, addressing him in the words with which 


our Lord reproached Peter for his weakness: " O thou 
of little faith, why didst thou doubt ? " 

31. Several times Ignatius knew miraculously of 
events which were taking place at a distance. He was 
at Monte Cassino, giving the Exercises to Peter Ortiz, 
when they came to tell him that Father Hozius was 
seriously ill at Padua. He immediately offered earnest 
prayers to God for the preservation of one so dear to 
him, but God would not delay to reward the labours of 
this valiant worker, and called him to Himself. At the 
moment that Hozius expired, Ignatius saw his soul, 
brilliant with light, ascend to Heaven escorted by 
angels, as St. Benedict had formerly seen, at the same 
place, the soul of the holy Bishop Germanus carried by 
heavenly spirits to glory, as St. Gregory relates. He 
beheld this sight more than once, for, having gone to 
hear Mass, at these words of the beginning : " I confess 
... to all the saints," he saw Paradise opened, and 
his companion amongst a troop of the Blessed, his 
brightness surpassing that of all the rest ; not that he 
was the holiest nor the highest in glory, but because 
God, as Ignatius himself remarked, desired that he 
should recognize him by a distinguishing mark. This 
sight impressed him so vividly that he wept for joy 
during several days, and what made him understand 
that it was not an illusion was that the body of the dead 
man seemed to afford some assurance of the glorious 
condition of his soul ; for Hozius, who was dark, and 
of a plain countenance, became so fair and beautiful 
after death, that Codure, who never left him, could 
scarcely recognize him. 

32. John Codure, one of the first ten Fathers, was 
dangerously ill. Accompanied by Father Viola, who 
told me this, relates Father Peter Maffei, Ignatius went 


to say Mass at the Church of S. Pietro in Montorio 
beyond the Tiber, to solicit the sick man s recovery. 
They were walking silently, when suddenly, when they 
had reached the middle of the Sistine Bridge, Ignatius 
looked up to heaven, and recoiled as if surprised at 
what was before him. Then, turning to his companion, 
he said : " Let us return to the house, our good Father 
Codure is no longer in this world." Though Ignatius 
always avoided saying more concerning this, it was 
always believed that at that moment, which was exactly 
the time of Codure s death, he had seen the Father 
ascend to Heaven, as, on a similar occasion, he had 
formerly seen the soul of Hozius received into glory. 
There is all the more ground for thinking thus, because, 
if he had not then the assurance of the beatitude of 
the deceased, his conduct is inexplicable. It would be 
hard to understand his having suddenly retraced his 
steps, instead of going on so as to offer the Holy 
Sacrifice as soon as possible for the repose of Codure s 
soul, which he never failed to do on such occasions* 
Besides, writing soon after to Father Faber, and 
informing him of Codure s death, he tells him that at 
the moment when he expired, a Servant of God, who 
is no doubt himself, saw his soul radiant with light, 
and surrounded by angelic spirits, enter into the felicity 
of the Blessed. 

33. The naturally grateful heart of Ignatius always 
retained an affectionate recollection of the attention 
which he had received during his stay at Barcelona 
from his hostess, Agnes Pascal. When God took to 
Himself that virtuous Christian, He informed His 
Servant supernaturally of the fact. Father Araoz, who 
had assisted Agnes in her last moments, having written 
to Ignatius to recommend her soul to the prayers of 
the Saint, the latter replied, that he was aware of her 


death, but that she no longer needed his prayers and 
already enjoyed the felicity of the elect. 

34. The following is an extraordinary fact of which 
there are some instances, though it is seldom met with 
in the Lives of the Saints, the simultaneous presence of 
Ignatius in two places far distant from each other. 
Father Leonard Kessel, first Rector of Cologne, had 
a great wish to see the Servant of God, of whom he 
daily heard such wonders, and he had written to 
him to ask leave to visit him at Rome, so as to have 
the consolation of gazing on his features and gathering 
up some of his saintly sayings. He also offered, not 
withstanding his advanced age and feeble health, to 
perform the long and toilsome journey, of more than 
three hundred leagues, on foot. Ignatius told him to 
remain at his post, since his College needed his presence, 
but that if it pleased God, he would perhaps find some 
easier and quicker means of granting his desire. One 
day, when he was not thinking of Ignatius, the latter 
suddenly appeared to him, and looked at him with a 
calm countenance and most affectionate air. The Saint 
remained with him some time, during which they con 
versed together, and when he disappeared, he left 
Kessel filled with joy. 

35. Ignatius showed on many occasions that he 
possessed the gift of prophecy to a high degree. He 
was leaving Barcelona permanently to pursue his 
studies at Alcala. Touched by the admirable virtue 
which he had remarked in this holy man, a young 
Catalan, a native of Girone, named Michael Rodez, 
earnestly entreated permission to accompany him and 
place himself under his guidance. Ignatius would not 
allow this, and gave this reason for refusing : " No, you 
are not called to be my companion ; remain in the world. 
You will there study the law, you will have a wife and 


children, and one of them, taking your place, will enter 
the Religious Society which, with God s grace, I shall 
some time found." Sixteen or seventeen years were 
still to elapse before the establishment of the Society, 
but in due time this prophecy was exactly fulfilled. 
Michael became a skilful lawyer ; he married, and the 
youngest of his sons, also named Michael, entered the 
Society, where he lived to a good old age, and which 
he honoured by his devotion for the salvation of souls 
and his zeal in practising mortification. When he 
informed his father of his intention of entering the 
Society, the latter told him what Ignatius had said, 
and they both rejoiced that the prediction was about 
to be fulfilled. However, things did not proceed quite 
smoothly. The young man at once solicited admission, 
but the Provincial, delaying to send a favourable 
answer too long for his impatience, he turned his 
thoughts elsewhere. He entered into communications 
with the Carthusian Fathers of the Certosa, and asked 
for the habit. His request was granted, and twice the 
day had been fixed for his entrance, but both times he 
was hindered from doing so by some unexpected event. 
He then returned to his former project, and knocked 
at the door of the Society, where he was at last 
received, thus fulfilling the double prophecy of Ignatius. 

36. At the time of this departure from Barce 
lona, John Pascal, a young man of admirable piety, 
the son of his hostess, Agnes Pascal, had made a 
request similar to that of Michael Rodez, and had 
likewise been refused. To soften the harshness of this 
refusal, the Servant of God informed John of all that 
would afterwards happen to him, but he told it with 
such precision that he seemed rather to be relating 
past events than predicting future ones. Piously 
attached as they were to the person of Ignatius, 


John and his mother could not resign themselves 
to see him depart, and wished at least to accompany 
him three miles from the town. There they had 
to bid farewell ; Ignatius embraced the young man 
tenderly, and gave him fatherly advice to guide him 
throughout his life. John could scarcely part from 
Ignatius, and said to him: "My Father, by your 
example and advice, you have succeeded in doing good 
to so many others who have profited so greatly by 
them, why do you leave me before you have obtained 
the same benefit for me ? Wretched as I am, what 
shall I become when you are no longer here ? " " Con 
fidence, my son," answered Ignatius. " God s will is 
that you should remain in the world and take care of 
your mother. You will lead a common life, but oppor 
tunities of acquiring holiness and of meriting a precious 
reward will not be wanting. You will marry a woman 
of great virtue, and you will be the father of a large 
family, but your children will be the source of much 
grief to you. You will end by being reduced to great 
poverty, and during your last days you will be almost 
destitute. God will permit this, in order that you may 
not be corrupted by pleasures, and may be constrained 
to depend on Heaven alone. Bear therefore your 
troubles with constancy, they will turn to your soul s 
profit." All happened as Ignatius had foretold. 
Pascal s eldest child was born deaf and dumb ; the 
second lost his reason at the age of twenty-two ; the 
third led a disorderly life, and died suddenly before his 
eyes. Of his four daughters, one only lived long enough 
to be settled in life. He himself, ruined by the bad 
faith of those to whom he had lent considerable sums, 
and overwhelmed with debts, fell into deep distress, 
and was almost reduced to beg. Ignatius did not 
forsake him, he sustained his courage by most affec 
tionate letters as long as he lived, and after his death 


consoled him more wonderfully still by appearing to 

37. When Ignatius was going through the course of 
studies at the University of Paris, he went to Belgium 
during the vacation, for the purpose of obtaining some 
alms from the Spanish merchants who carried on traffic 
in that country. In undertaking this journey he 
intended to collect the means to subsist in peace, 
without being obliged to beg his food daily, as he had 
hitherto done, to the great prejudice of his studies. At 
Antwerp, especially, his countrymen received him well, 
gave him abundant help, and invited him to dinner. 
Amongst the guests at table with him, was a young 
man from Medina del Campo, who was particularly 
liberal to him. Ignatius looked at him, and, suddenly 
enlightened with Divine light, knew that his present 
gift was but the prelude to a much larger one which 
he would afterwards bestow upon him. He took him 
aside, and said to him : " As some day you will be our 
great benefactor and we shall owe you deep gratitude, 
it is right that we should henceforth be friends. Thank 
God for having chosen you for such a work." Then 
looking at him fixedly, he added : " The time will come 
when you, who are now so generous to me, will found 
a house of the Order which God will establish by 
means of the mean person whom you have just helped." 
The novelty of the idea, the tone of assurance with 
which Ignatius expressed it, and which contrasted 
strongly with his usual manner, and his reputation for 
holiness, made a deep impression upon the young 
merchant, who never forgot these words. He did, in 
fact, afterwards found a College of the Society at 
Medina del Campo, and whenever his wife Frances 
Manzoni met any of our Fathers, she never failed to 
relate this prophecy. 


38. Doctor Arrouira, a person of importance, whom 
the city of Barcelona sent as its deputy to Philip II., 
was very intimate with Ignatius. He was coming out 
of the Ara Cceli, and had in his hand some letters 
which he had just received from Francis Borgia, Duke 
of Gandia and Viceroy of Catalonia, when he met 
Ignatius. They conversed together, and spoke of the 
letters which the doctor had received. " Do you know," 
said Ignatius suddenly, " that the writer of those letters 
will one day come to Rome and be placed at the head 
of the Society?" At the time when the Servant of 
God said this, there seemed no likelihood that the 
Duke of Gandia could ever become a religious, for 
everything seemed calculated to retain him in the world 
as long as he lived. Independently of the important 
functions which the favour of the Emperor had entrusted 
to him, he was the head of a family, and had children, 
and a wife still alive. Nevertheless, what seemed 
impossible was realized as Ignatius had foretold. After 
the death of the Duchess, Francis arranged his family 
affairs, freed himself from his offices, and asked to be 
received amongst us. His request was granted, and, 
after the death of Ignatius and of his successor Lainez, 
he was elected General of the Society in 1565. 

39. Ignatius uttered another prophecy concerning 
St. Francis Borgia. Upon the death of Blessed 
Father Faber, some of our members were afflicted 
beyond measure at the loss of a man who had already 
rendered such services to the Society, and would have 
rendered many more if he had not been prematurely 
removed. However, the Servant of God, drawing aside 
the veil which concealed the future from his children, 
endeavoured to console them by saying: "We have 
no cause to grieve thus. God will indemnify us for the 
sacrifice which He requires from us now. He will give 


us another Faber in place of him whom He calls to 
Himself, and the second Faber will bring us more 
honour and profit than the first." This prophecy had 
its fulfilment in the person of Francis Borgia, who 
entered the Society after the death of Faber. In the 
lifetime of Faber he had undertaken to build a College 
for us, but after his death he offered himself to become 
a living stone of our spiritual edifice. 

40. In the sixth Lesson of the Office which the 
Church has appointed for St. Ignatius, she notices the 
wonderful power which he exercised over the devils. 
When he returned to his native place, a poor woman 
was brought to him who had been possessed four years. 
She had been exorcised, but the exorcisms had only had 
the result of proving the reality of her possession, God 
having reserved to His Servant the glory of delivering 
her from it. When the unfortunate woman was brought 
to Ignatius, she begged him to exorcise her again and to 
ask God for her cure. He answered humbly that he 
was not a priest, and that he was far from deserving 
that God should grant him such a favour ; he promised, 
however, to implore Divine Goodness for her. He laid 
his hands upon her, made the sign of the Cross, and 
she was at once set free. Encouraged by this prompt 
and miraculous deliverance, they brought to him 
another unfortunate, who was afflicted with such 
terrible convulsions that they considered her also to 
be possessed. Directly the Saint saw her, being super- 
naturally enlightened, he declared that she was not 
really an energumen, though the devil tormented her 
with frightful visions, which made her like a mad 
person, and he again put the devil to flight by making 
the sign of the Cross. 

41. In 1541, a young Basque, named Matthew, was- 
employed at the Fathers house in Rome. The devil 


suddenly took possession of him, in the absence of 
Ignatius, who had gone to the Monastery of S. Pietro 
in Montorio, to consult Father Theodore, a Franciscan, 
concerning the Generalship which his brethren wished 
him to accept. The devil tormented the poor boy 
day and night. He made him utter dreadful cries, 
caused him to foam at the mouth, at one time throwing 
him upon the ground, and at another raising him in 
the air; he sometimes rendered him so heavy and 
immoveable that eight or ten men could scarcely move 
him. Matthew had received no instruction and under 
stood no language but his own, but he then spoke 
several foreign languages successively quite correctly. 
I have seen him, relates Ribadeneira, with his mouth 
extremely swelled, but at the sign of the Cross which 
the priest traced upon his lips, while reciting the 
exorcisms, the swelling disappeared and went to his 
throat ; another sign of the Cross sent it from the throat 
to the chest, and so on to the other parts of the body. 
Once when he was in this state, we told the devil that 
Ignatius would soon return and would drive him out of 
Matthew s body. At these words the evil spirit, 
becoming more furious, and uttering dreadful cries, 
said by the mouth of the possessed: "Let them not 
name that man, who is my greatest enemy upon earth." 
However, after three days, Ignatius having returned 
and hearing what had occurred, took pity upon Matthew, 
shut himself up with him in his room, and kept him 
there some time. It is not known what he did, but 
when the demoniac left the Servant of God, he was 
completely freed from his infernal persecutor. 

42. The College of Loreto had been opened in 1554. 
The first Rector was Oliver Manare, a religious of 
eminent virtue, who was still living at the time that 
Ribadeneira wrote this. The Fathers were no sooner 


settled there, in 1555, than Satan, irritated at the good 
which was being effected, used every means to render 
the house uninhabitable and oblige them to withdraw. 
The devils appeared under the form of Moors, dogs, 
cats, and other animals, and made a terrible uproar. 
The ground sometimes trembled so that the buildings 
seemed likely to fall ; at others, they seemed to hear 
a number of ruffians invading the apartments, plunder 
ing, ransacking, and upsetting everything that came in 
their way. At night, they could scarcely close their 
eyes, the windows and doors opened violently, as if 
yielding to the force of a tempest, and the bed-clothes 
and mattresses were removed from the beds. The 
most virtuous of them were particularly tormented, and 
had to endure every kind of vexation. The prie-dien 
on which they knelt for prayer disappeared beneath 
them. A young Englishman, amongst others, was 
struck on his side so violently while taking his meal 
with the rest, that he fell down half dead. 

Moved with tender compassion for his brethren, 
Oliver Manare felt their trials more than his own, and 
in order that they might obtain some rest at night, he 
used to walk along the corridor past their rooms until 
a late hour, reassuring them by the thought that he 
was at hand to help them if needed. Once, when he 
was watching thus for the general security, ready to 
hasten to any spot where there should be noise or cries, 
he suddenly felt the College shake, and heard a crash 
as if the walls had fallen. He did not give way to 
fright, but went towards the place where the uproar 
was greatest ; the noise approached and came straight 
towards him. He shuddered with horror, but made 
the sign of the Cross, and went on. There appeared 
immediately before him an enormous black mastiff with 
glittering eyes, and a fierce aspect, which looked at him 
threateningly. It passed the Father, however, without 


injuring him, and departed, barking three times with 
a strong but stifled voice, and when it was gone the 
tumult ceased. 

Worn out with fatigue and anxiety, Manare fell ill, 
but in order not to deprive his children of the help 
which he used to give them when in health, he ordered 
all of them, whenever the devils tormented them, to 
command them in God s name to go to the Rector and 
pour out their fury upon him. The malicious spirits 
did not fail to attack him particularly, but without 
sparing his brethren. One evening he was falling 
asleep, which he had not done for some nights, when 
he was awakened by hearing a knock at the door. 
Thinking that it was one of his children who had come 
to him through fright, he answered : " Come in." 
There was another knock ; and, thinking that he had 
not been heard, he raised his voice and repeated in a 
louder tone : " Come in." As the knocking was repeated 
more loudly, he quickly recognized one who dare not 
use the authorization which had been granted, and, 
arming himself with the sign of the Cross, he said to 
him : " I know now who you are. In the name of 
God enter, and do whatever you have permission to 
perform." Scarcely had he uttered these words, than 
the doors and windows opened quickly as if shivered by 
a tempest, the whole room trembled, and the infernal 
visitor, who had no power to do more, departed for the 
present. . . . This had been going on for some time, 
a great many Masses had been said, blessed candles 
had been burnt, prayers had been offered to the Mother 
of God, Agnus Dei had been used, there had been 
exorcisms and aspersions of holy water, the relics of 
the saints had been exposed, and all the means used 
which Ignatius, who had been told of it by Manare, 
had recommended, whilst exhorting them to have 
patience so as not to lose the merits of such a cruel 


trial ; but it all availed nothing, and the evil increased 
daily. Manare wrote again, begging the Servant of 
God to come to the assistance of his children. The 
Saint replied, and his letter is a great contrast to the 
preceding ones. He now speaks no longer of patience, 
but, as if he was certain of being heard, he promises to 
pray, and gives hopes of speedy relief. " Trust in God, 
my children," he writes. " He will deliver you. I, for 
my part, will entreat Him for you." When Manare 
received this letter, he assembled his brethren, and bid 
them believe what their Father said, and, wonderful to 
relate, from that moment the devils were conquered, 
and ceased to infest the house. 

43. Whilst very thankful to God for the brilliant 
gifts which he had received from Him, Ignatius rightly 
valued much more highly inward gifts, which escape 
the view of men, who often do not esteem them enough, 
whilst they lavish their admiration upon the others. 
He was aware that the power of doing extraordinary 
things is given to a man much less for his personal 
good than for the benefit of his brethren, that such 
power does not necessarily render a man better, or 
more pleasing to God, and that our Lord never made 
it a distinguishing sign by which His true friends might 
be recognized. He remembered that, when the disciples 
of the Saviour returned to their Master after their first 
trial of the apostolate, to render to Him an account of 
their mission, and congratulated themselves in His 
presence for having healed the sick and cast out devils, 
Jesus corrected their error, saying : " Rejoice not in 
this that spirits are subject unto you ; but rejoice in 
this, that your names are written in Heaven." He 
knew that at the Last Day, the Sovereign Judge will 
answer those who plead all kinds of wonders which 
they have worked in His name: " I never knew you, 


depart from Me, you that work iniquity." Once, when 
he was speaking to one of his dearest children of the 
ineffable favours with which God sometimes enriches 
His servants, God allowed him to make this admission : 
" All the most wonderful things of this kind which 
historians relate, fall far short of the reality. As for 
me, I would not exchange the mercies which Divine 
Goodness has bestowed upon my soul for all the 
extraordinary graces mentioned in the Lives of the 

44. Ignatius did not readily believe in the supernatural 
value of certain phenomena which sometimes suddenly 
occupied public attention, and attracted the multitude ; 
and he wished his children to imitate his prudent 
reserve in this respect. He advised them, above all, 
not to accept visions, ecstasies, raptures, and other 
similar wonders, as an infallible sign of the holiness of 
a person. Father Martin de Sainte-Croix, when a 
novice, and as yet little experienced in spiritual ways, 
spoke one day in his presence of the famous Magdalen 
of the Cross, who for thirty years deceived in Spain 
people, priests, kings, emperors, and in fact almost 
every one. " I was present," Ribadeneira says, " when 
Father Martin told enthusiastically what he had heard 
of the woman, adding that he had been to see her at 
Cordova, had conversed with her, and that from what 
he had seen and heard, he did not hesitate to consider 
her one of the wisest and most virtuous women in the 
world. Ignatius rebuked the Father severely for 
having spoken so favourably of this person, and for 
having brought forward with such assurance, as a 
sign of the higher perfection, outward things which 
are not a proof of it. He commanded him to change 
his manner of judging in this respect, and to remember 
that the religious of the Society ought to beware of 


judging of holiness by appearances which may be 
deceiving. The event justified the opinion of Ignatius; 
Magdalen was convicted of illusion and imposture." 

45. A venerable Dominican came one day to visit 
Ignatius, and Father Palmius and I were present, says 
Ribadeneira. In the course of conversation they spoke 
of a nun, concerning whom opinion was much divided, 
on account of the astonishing things which were 
perceived in her. The facts seemed to be well 
established, but to whom were they to be attributed ? 
Ignatius was asked to give his opinion. Without 
deciding positively, he let it be understood that all 
these wonders only half reassured him. When I was 
alone with him, continues Ribadeneira, I asked him 
to tell me plainly what he thought about it, and he 
answered : " Peter, the action of God is generally 
exercised much more inwardly than outwardly, and 
He works principally in the soul. It is there that He 
operates and exercises His influence, and there He lays 
the foundation of solid virtues and pours forth the 
treasures of true holiness. It is true that He some 
times bestows such a profusion of heavenly gifts upon 
His creature that their superabundance is reflected 
even upon the body, and that what takes place within 
reacts upon the exterior, but He then departs from 
His usual practice; He does so very seldom, and only 
in favour of some particularly favoured persons. The 
devil, on the other hand, having no power over the 
innermost soul, is in the habit of counterfeiting the 
Divine operations as far as he can. If he meets with 
souls that are imprudent, giddy, eager for what is 
extraordinary, and ready to impose upon others, he 
endeavours to produce in them certain outward marks 
of holiness, calculated to strike the senses and provoke 
admiration, in order to inspire them with pride and to 


deceive those who are witnesses of these pretended 
wonders." He cited several facts in support of what 
he said to me, and I understood that the nun might be 
deceived, notwithstanding her raptures and stigmata. 
What I have since learnt has shown me that Ignatius 
was not the dupe of the evil spirit. 

46. Ignatius earnestly desired that his children 

should take the greatest care to maintain the constant 

exercise of a sweet and holy familiarity with God, 

avoiding at the same time all curiosity, all desire, and 

even all esteem for revelations, ecstasies, raptures, and 

all extraordinary paths which often unsettle, and end by 

leading astray, weak and frivolous hearts. When God, 

Who is ever Master of His gifts, granted gifts of such 

a nature to any one, the Servant of God would 

have him receive them with fear, humility, gratitude, 

and discretion, without attaching himself to them, or 

taking pleasure in them, without seeking or desiring 

them. Still further, agreeing with the saints and 

masters of spiritual life, he taught that those who are 

the objects of such favours ought to avoid them in so 

far as it depends upon themselves, and look upon them 

with suspicion ; and he advised them, in preference, to 

root within them solid virtues, which alone adorn, 

embellish, and truly perfect the soul and render it 

pleasing to God. " It is only in this way," he often 

repeated, "that a person acquires holiness, and becomes 

the friend of God ; as to these extraordinary graces, 

though in appearance they may be higher and more 

excellent, in reality they may be only the effect of 

imagination ; even if they should be real, they do not 

always prove that he who receives them is a saint and 

possesses God s friendship." Whilst in his discourses 

he dwelt continually upon the necessity of applying 

oneself to prayer, of mortifying and despising self, of 


resisting and overcoming the passions, and of under 
taking all kinds of labours for the glory of God and 
the salvation of souls, he spoke rarely and briefly of 
visions and similar matters. 



1. O ineffable consolation ! whenever we come to 
the Divine Banquet, we are fed with the Flesh of our 
Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, which He took from 
that of Mary, His Mother. 

2. We ought not to refrain from receiving the 
Bread of Angels because we have not feelings of 
tender devotion in approaching the Sacred Banquet ; 
this would be to condemn ourselves to die of hunger 
because we have not honeycomb, and to be willing to 
lose life through the desire of gratifying the taste. 

3. Ignatius was the restorer of frequent Communion 
in his time. This is the praise which the Church 
bestows upon him in the Lesson of his Office. He 
exhorts all Christians to monthly Communion, he 
much recommends weekly Communion, and, when 
he meets with the requisite dispositions, he encourages 
daily Communion. God blessed his efforts, and he 
succeeded in bringing back to the Holy Table a large 
number of guests whose place had long been vacant. 
The great Cardinal Baronius, who witnessed this 
success with amazement, was not afraid in one of his 
sermons to call the Church of our first Fathers in 
Rome, the Church of Anastasia, that is, the Church 
of the resurrection of the practice of the sacraments, 


as, in old times, at Constantinople, St. Gregory 
Nazianzen, preaching before a number of Bishops, 
saluted with the glorious name of Anastasia the 
Church in which the orthodox faith, which had been 
for a moment obscured by the artifices of the heretics, 
had lately regained its former brilliancy through the 
decision of the chief pastors. 

4. Amongst the many and great advantages which 
result from the frequent and pious reception of the 
adorable Body of the Lord Jesus, one of the principal 
is, that by virtue of this Sacrament, he who participates 
worthily therein, is so fortified that he does not fall into 
mortal sin, or if, through the weakness inherent in 
human nature, he should happen to fall, he quickly 
rises again. 

5. As our Lord Jesus Christ is the way, as He 
Himself declares, I render lively thanksgivings to His 
goodness, that your Grace [St. Francis Borgia, then 
Duke of Gandia] , as we hear, approaches the Eucharist 
so frequently, to receive the Divine Master. For, 
not to speak of the other many excellent gifts of 
grace which the soul receives from its Creator and 
Lord when it unites itself to Him in this Sacra 
ment, there is one which must be counted amongst 
those which are chiefest and most precious : it is, that 
the Eucharist does not suffer the soul to remain long in 
sin, nor to persist in it obstinately. But as soon as the 
soul falls into even the slightest faults (if anything can 
be called slight which wounds the Infinite Majesty and 
Sovereign Good), the Eucharist causes it to rise again, 
stronger, and armed with a firmer resolution to serve 
its Creator more faithfully for the future. 

6. I beg and entreat you, by the love of God, and 
by the respect which we owe Him, to apply yourself 
to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with all the fidelity of 


which you are capable, and to venerate His Divine 
Majesty with the deepest respect, above all in the 
Sacrament of the Eucharist, in which He is hidden, 
in all the greatness of His Divine and Human Natures, 
wherein He is altogether as great as He appears in 
Heaven on His throne of glory to all the Blessed, as 
powerful, and as infinite. Therefore, in the Confra 
ternity which you are to establish in His honour, 
amongst the laws which you will make to revive piety 
and religion in the soul of the members, be careful to 
introduce the following one : That each member of the 
Confraternity be bound to go to confession once a 
month, and to receive the Holy Eucharist. Let it be, 
however, spontaneously ; and if he acts otherwise, let 
it not be to the prejudice of his conscience. If you 
faithfully observe this law, I am firmly convinced that 
your souls will derive therefrom inestimable benefits, 
and will make wonderful progress in virtue. 

There was a time when all Christians who had 
reached a suitable age, received the Holy Eucharist 
daily. Soon, the ardour of piety having gradually 
diminished, It was only received weekly. Then, 
after a very long time, the ardour of charity having 
everywhere greatly cooled, the general custom was to 
communicate only at the three principal solemnities of 
the year. Nevertheless, during all this time, the most 
fervent souls were quite free to approach this Sacra 
ment more frequently, and according to the measure 
of their desire, and of their piety, they received It every 
three days, or weekly, or monthly. Now, at last, 
through our negligence or weakness, things are come 
to such a point, that persons only fortify themselves 
once a year with this Heavenly Food, and only the 
name of Christian remains to us, and of this you can 
easily convince yourselves, by considering calmly and 
without prejudice the state in which the greater part 


of the world is at present. As the welfare of our souls,, 
and the honour and worship of God, are so closely 
connected with this adorable Sacrament, it is right 
that It should become the object of our most lively 
solicitude, and that we should endeavour to revive the 
holy traditions of our forefathers amongst us. If we 
cannot revive them fully, let us as least try to recover 
them in part. Thus, for example, after a monthly 
confession well made, let each of you approach also 
the Sacrament of the Eucharist. If any one desires 
to approach It more frequently, he will undoubtedly do 
something agreeable to God, according to the testimony 
of St. Augustine, confirmed by the unanimous approba 
tion of all the Doctors. For after having used these 
words, " As to daily Communion, I neither praise it, 
neither do I blame it," he adds as follows : " But I 
exhort all to communicate every Sunday." Therefore 
the sovereign goodness of God and His accustomed 
clemency cause us to hope that He will bestow upon 
you abundantly His help and His heavenly grace, that 
you may all render to Him the homage due to Him in 
this Sacrament, of which the worthy reception will 
have such a manifest and powerful influence upon 

7. It is difficult to give rules about a thing which 
depends so much upon the particular disposition of 
each person ; but it may be said, in general, that, as 
one of the most admirable effects of frequent Com 
munion is to preserve from falls, and to help those who 
fall through weakness to rise again, it is much safer 
to approach this Divine Sacrament often, with love, 
respect, and trust, than to stay away from It through 
fear and pusillanimity. Each person should in this 
follow the advice of the Apostle, and judge himself, 
and decide according to what he knows about the 


purity of intention in his heart, his fervour in devotion, 
and hatred of sin, the care which he takes in preparing 
for this royal feast, the profit which he derives from It, 
and the greater or less facility which he has in over 
coming his passions. Finally, the best and safest rule 
on this point, as in all that concerns the guidance of 
the soul, is to follow the advice of a learned and 
prudent spiritual Father. 

8. As to daily Communion, we know that, in the 
primitive Church, all received the Body of our Lord 
every day, and that there does not exist any canon or 
writing of our holy mother the Church against this 
practice ; moreover, neither the scholastic theologians, 
nor those who treat of positive theology, say that it 
is forbidden for persons whose devotion urges them 
thereto, to communicate daily. If St. Augustine says, 
speaking of daily Communion, that " he neither blames 
nor praises it," nevertheless elsewhere he exhorts all 
the faithful to communicate every Sunday, and he goes 
on to say, speaking of the Most Sacred Body of our 
Lord Jesus Christ : " This is daily Bread ; live in such 
a manner that you may receive It every day." The 
case being thus, though you may not have, to cause 
you to determine to communicate daily, either many 
good indications which show that for you it is best, or 
many salutary interior movements which urge you to 
do so, a good and safe testimony by which you can 
decide in this matter is the testimony of your own 
conscience : I mean that if, after having examined 
your conscience well, you find before God, clear signs, 
or at least what appear to you to be such, that daily 
Communion strengthens you, and inflames you more 
and more with the love of our Creator and Lord ; if 
you communicate with this intention, and if you find 
by experience, that this Most Holy Food sustains, 


tranquillizes, and purifies your soul, and preserves 
you in such a way that you feel greater fervour to 
serve God, to praise Him, and to promote His glory, 
do not doubt that you may communicate daily, and 
that that is what is most beneficial to you. 

9. Ignatius heard one day that the young people at 
Macerata having prepared an improper play for the 
festivities at the Carnival, the Fathers from Loreto, 
who had gone there on a mission, had exposed the 
Blessed Sacrament in a magnificently decorated chapel, 
that the Forty Hours Prayer had been held there 
during the three days preceding Ash Wednesday, and 
that the people, attracted by this new ceremony, had 
left the theatre to come and adore Jesus Christ upon 
the altar. This devotion pleased Ignatius so much, 
that he wished it to be practised every year in the 
houses of the Society. It is to him that we owe 
the solemn prayers which are now offered throughout 
the Church during the last days of Carnival, to with 
draw the faithful from the dissipations and follies, too 
often of a sinful nature, of this period of the year. 



1. It is easier to listen than to speak, and we should 
listen much and speak little. 

2. The grace of speaking should be desired, which 
is so necessary in order to deal with others. 

3. To maintain intercourse and deal freely with 
others is a ministry beautiful in itself and specially 
suited to our Society ; but the more useful it is when 
properly performed, so much the more dangerous it 
becomes when badly done, for then the worldling will 
imprint his own colours much more quickly upon the 
religious than the religious will succeed in giving to the 
worldling those of religion ; and as habitual intercourse 
and the suitable conversation of a modest and prudent 
man have great power in winning souls to Jesus Christ, 
so the same things, when they proceed from a hasty 
and uncircumspect man, often injure holy resolutions 
which have been made ; in this way, instead of the 
profit which was sought, a stumbling-block is met with. 

4. The more intimate you are with spiritual men, 
the more of God s pleasures will you enjoy. 

5. If you wish your love to increase, speak of love ; 
for as wind excites a flame, so do pious conversations 
excite love. 


6. It is a great art, and a very rare one, to manage 
many affairs, and to deal with a number of people 
without ever losing sight of self or of God. 

7. I desire you to be towards every one, but espe 
cially with your equals and your inferiors, sober and 
circumspect in your words, always ready and patient 
in listening, carefully giving your attention until the 
persons with whom you are conversing have thoroughly 
laid before you their opinion. You will then give them 
a short and clear answer, which will guard you as far 
as possible against being further pressed. You will 
then dismiss them without delay, but in a pleasant 
way. In order to gain the good-will of men for the 
purpose of extending God s Kingdom, you will, after 
the example of the Apostle, make yourself all things to 
all, to win them to Jesus Christ. Nothing is so well 
calculated to conciliate affection and gain hearts as 
similarity of tastes and habits. Thus, after having 
studied the character and habits of each person, you 
will endeavour to conform yourself thereto in so far as 
duty allows : so that, if you are dealing with a lively 
and ardent character, you will take care not to be 
tedious. You must, on the other hand, be rather slower 
and more measured, if he to whom you are speaking is 
more circumspect and sedate in what he says. More 
over, if he who has to deal with a man of irascible 
temperament has himself the same defect, and they do 
not thoroughly agree in their views, it is much to be 
feared that they will give way to an outburst of anger. 
For this reason, he who is conscious of this propensity 
ought to be most watchful over himself, and furnish his 
heart with a supply of strength so that it may not be 
surprised by anger ; he should rather bear with equani 
mity whatever he may have to suffer from another, 
even if it be an inferior. Contests and quarrels are 


much less to be dreaded in the case of calm and quiet 
spirits than with persons who are quick and ardent. 

In order to attract men to virtue, and to resist the 
devil, you will use the weapons which he employs to 
ruin them ; such is the advice of St. Basil. When the 
devil attacks a just man, he hides his snares, and 
attacks him indirectly, without combating his pious 
inclinations, and even pretending to conform himself 
to them ; but little by little he attracts him and 
entangles him in his snares. You should do the same 
in order to withdraw men from sin. Begin by prudently 
praising what is good in them without at first attacking 
their vices ; when you have gained their confidence, 
apply the remedy which their case needs. With regard 
to those who are sad and troubled, keep, as far as 
possible, a calm and cheerful countenance in speaking 
to them ; let there be great gentleness in your words, 
so as to bring them back more easily to a calm state of 
soul, resisting one extreme by another. 

Not only in your sermons, but also in your private 
conversations, above all when you have to reconcile 
enemies, do not forget that whatever you say may be 
published, and that what you have said in darkness 
may perhaps be made known at noon-day. 

8. At Venice a young professor had thoughtlessly 
used expressions which had given offence to some one. 
Ignatius heard of it ; he imposed a severe penance upon 
the culprit, and desired him for the future to be very 
circumspect in his language, and to weigh well the 
terms that he employed, adding these words : " Put 
your words in the balance before trusting them to your 

9. As to idle persons who come to you to .kill time 
in talking about trifles, receive them by turning the 
conversation to the examen of conscience, and to con- 


fession, speak to them of sin, of death, of the Last 
Judgment, of the everlasting torments of the lost, and 
of other awful truths which startle the ears of men, 
however deaf they may be. Treat of such matters when 
ever they come to you, and you will thus further both 
your interests and theirs. Either they will be unrepelled 
by your grave reception, and will continue to visit you, 
in which case they will derive profit from your discourse, 
or else your conversation will displease them, and they 
will leave you in peace. 

10. We sometimes meet with persons whom we 
should charitably suppose are animated by excellent 
intentions, but who give vent to their ill-judged zeal 
on every occasion in inconsiderate words, which fail 
in producing the effect intended, and too often have 
grievous consequences to themselves and others. Under 
the false idea, that by so doing they are helping God s 
cause, they are for ever speaking warmly against the 
corruption of the age, they pour forth bitter lamenta 
tions about degeneracy of character, relaxation of 
manners, and abandonment of principles, they even 
exaggerate the extent of the evil, and denounce abuses 
everywhere, they confound what is desirable with what 
is possible, and call loudly for the immediate destruction 
of whatever, either rightly or wrongly, shocks them. 
Substituting themselves without commission or compe 
tence for the authority whose business it is to repress 
disorders, and usurping an office which does not belong 
to them, they think that they possess the infallible 
remedy for the state of things which they deplore. 
With imperturbable and presumptuous confidence, they 
tell every one what they think ought to be done to 
change the face of the world immediately, and they are 
angry because their voice rouses no echo. They do 
not stop there ; from the censure of things, they proceed 


to that of persons, even of those whom they ought to 
respect most ; they take upon themselves to try the 
highest superiors, and no one finds favour with them. 
They reproach one for his silence, and another for his 
speech ; they condemn the action of one and the absten 
tion of another, they accuse them of failing in their 
most essential duties, of betraying God s interests by 
cowardice or self-interest, and of caring nothing for the 
loss of souls. Ignatius could not endure these wrong- 
headed people, and when he found any such amongst 
his children, he rebuked him for it, and endeavoured to 
correct him, desiring him to direct his useless and 
restless preoccupation about the conduct of others to 
himself, where it might be of profit. He admitted that 
he had had to struggle with himself about this, but, he 
said, " I got rid of this temptation by thinking of the 
Last Judgment and of what will be required from me 
personally at that moment, and if each were to do the 
same, people would not be so ready to concern them 
selves about the life of others. Yes," he added, " what 
we have to do first of all, is to think what God will 
require from us when we leave this world, and what 
will be the points upon which He will interrogate us, 
so as to regulate our life by the judgment which God 
will make us undergo, and not according to our senses. 
God will certainly not fail to ask us whether we have 
led a life conformable to our vocation, if we have 
behaved in a manner worthy of a man and a religious, 
if we have despised the world, maintained a spirit of 
fervour, applied ourselves assiduously to prayer, and 
faithfully fulfilled the duties imposed upon us by our 
Institute. As to the rest, which does not concern us, 
which does not depend upon us, and which has not 
been entrusted to us, we shall not have to render an 
account. Nevertheless, this does not prevent us, for 
the sake of God s honour, to desire earnestly that evil 


may be remedied, and to pray for such a happy result ; 
and even, when opportunity offers, to press the matter 
strongly upon those who have the power to do so. 
Lastly," he goes on to say, " let him who has the 
mission, the power, and the will to reform the world, 
begin the reform with himself, then let him extend it 
gradually to those about him, and afterwards bring it 
into cities and capitals ; by setting to work thus, his 
efforts may be crowned with success : they would be 
vain and fruitless if he were to act otherwise." 

ii. Ignatius was most careful in what he said of 
those who were in a position of dignity, and about 
whose conduct people are so ready to arrogate to them 
selves the right to examine and censure. Whatever 
their way of governing might be, he would not allow 
himself to blame them, even when the public attacked 
them unmercifully ; still less did he allow himself to say 
a word about the useful measures which they might 
easily take, lest he should cause their incapacity to be 
perceived, if they failed to see what ought to be done, 
or their injustice if, knowing it, they would not do it. 
One of the four Pontiffs, under whom he lived at Rome, 
was very hardly used by public opinion on account of 
his severity, and for other reasons, and no one spared 
him. Ignatius, on the contrary, sought diligently what 
ever he could find to praise in him, and urged it in 
opposition to strangers who came to tell him their 
grievances. Within the house, he forbade complaints 
to be made of the Pontiff, though there was much 
reason to think him ill-affected towards the Society. 
He strongly advised a Father, who was leaving Rome 
for Belgium, to say nothing but what was favourable of 
him and of his feelings towards us. The Father having 
objected that he would be much embarrassed how to 
excuse him for certain proceedings : " Well," said 



Ignatius, "say nothing about him, speak only of Pope 
Marcellus, who, as Cardinal and as Pope, has shown 
us an affection the remembrance of which should never 
be effaced." 

12. Father Lainez used to say that the preaching of 
Father Ignatius had nothing in common with the rules 
of Quintilian or Cicero, but his speech had more efficacy 
than all acquired eloquence, because each can do what 
God gives him power to do, and He bestows the power 
in proportion as His creature approaches nearer to 
Him and is disposed to receive His influence. 

13. When Ignatius and his companions saw that 
Palestine was closed to their zeal, they resolved to 
disperse themselves amongst the most famous Univer 
sities in Italy, to instil piety into the young people 
studying there, and to associate some of them with 
themselves. They drew up a short Rule for them 
selves, of which the Articles 3 and 4 were as follows : 
" That they should preach in public places and other 
spots where they were allowed to do so ; that in their 
sermons they would set forth the beauty and the reward 
of virtue, the hideousness and punishment of vice ; 
but that they would do this in a manner conformable 
to the simplicity of the Gospel, without needless, 
ornaments of eloquence. That they would teach 
Christian doctrine and good morals to children." 

14. Ignatius gave his children this advice : That 
they should practise themselves in preaching and giving 
Christian instruction in a manner which edifies the 
people and does not resemble the style of the schools. 
To perform these functions properly they should learn 
the common language well. 

15. " Preachers, and in general those who teach the 
people, ought to write carefully and meditate seriously 


before speaking. They should say nothing lightly, and 
refrain from taking up novelties or doubtful things in 
their discourses ; let them rather apply themselves to 
correct the vices of men modestly than seek after what 
flatters the ears and attracts applause." The dis 
courses of Ignatius always tended to inspire horror of 
sin and desire for virtue, and he ever aimed at making 
sinners look into themselves and at putting before them 
God s love for them. 

1 6. Ignatius and his first companions had met in 
Rome for the erection of their little Society into a 
Religious Order, labouring all the while for the salva 
tion of others by their preaching. Although Lainez, 
Salmeron, and Bobadilla charmed their hearers by 
the eminent oratorical qualities with which they were 
endowed, and which were rendered still more powerful 
by the zeal for the glory of God which inflamed them, 
none of them equalled Ignatius in pious unction, lively 
emotion, and force of reasoning. After having heard 
him, those competent to judge said that, in his mouth, 
the Word of God had its full weight, and that set forth 
by him in all its simplicity, without the borrowed orna 
ments employed by others, it had all the more efficacy 
and majesty. The superiority of his method consisted 
in this, that, in order to convince and persuade, his 
arguments, like a sword drawn from the scabbard in a 
combat, owed their power to themselves only, and were 
in no way affected by the way he offered them. 

17. If, to settle questions, words should be few and 
well weighed, on the other hand, to excite to piety, we 
should speak with a certain prolixity and in a kindly 

1 8. Where any one, in dealing with the multitude, 
criticizes princes and magistrates by name, he causes 
more harm and scandal than he does good, but though 


it is hurtful to inveigh against the depositaries of 
power, and to disparage them before the populace, it is 
useful to speak privately to those who can remedy the 

19. Father Lainez was particularly dear to Ignatius, 
as we have already remarked. Preaching one day to 
his fellow-countrymen in the Church of St. Paul, this 
Father attacked some simoniacal practices. The facts 
which he had denounced were incontestable, they were 
known to all, and nothing but bad faith would mistake 
the sense in which he had spoken of them. Never 
theless, because mischievous people might possibly 
conclude from this discourse that the Pontifical Con 
gregations did not fulfil their duties properly, Ignatius 
sent for the Father on his return to the house, and 
reproached him sharply, even threatening him with a 
severe punishment for not having been sufficiently 
watchful over his tongue, and for having run the risk 
of furnishing malignity with a pretext against the 
Roman officials. 

20. Father Jerome Otelli was a man full of zeal for 
souls, and his preaching caused a great number of con 
versions in Rome. When he was about to leave that 
city to go to Sicily, his departure made such a sensation 
that on the morrow a poor woman who was present at 
the Mass of the Servant of God cried with a loud 
voice, when he came to these words of the Confiteov, 
"through my fault, through my fault," &c., "Yes, 
Father Ignatius, strike your breast and confess that you 
have committed a fault, yes a fault, and a most grievous 
fault, by removing from Rome a man so holy and so 
necessary." One day, Father Otelli, when inveighing 
.as usual against the unbridled licence with which sin 
was committed, was so carried away as to say that 


since the love of God and the fear of Hell did not 
succeed in checking disorder, the Pope should have 
recourse to punishment, and take the whip in hand to 
drive away scandalous persons from the Holy City. 
When he had ended his discourse, Ignatius sent for 
him and said : " How many Popes are there in 
Rome ? " " There is but one," replied Otelli. " And 
you dare," rejoined Ignatius, " to designate by name 
from the pulpit, not merely a private person, but the 
Sovereign Pontiff himself, and, not satisfied with 
naming him, you have also the audacity to point out 
his duty to him, as if you knew it better than himself, 
and, even if it were so, as if it was proper for you to 
give him a lesson in such a place and on such an 
occasion. Withdraw, and enter into yourself, think, in 
the presence of God, what penance you deserve, and 
before evening come to tell me of it." Otelli went away 
very sad, and after having thought seriously about his 
fault, threw himself at the feet of Ignatius and gave 
him a written paper pointing out the punishment which 
he thought was his due. This was, to go through 
the streets of Rome for several days taking the disci 
pline, to go barefoot on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to 
fast several years on bread and water, leaving to his 
Superior to add the rest : " Ignatius, more than satis 
fied with such repentance, ordered him, as an example, 
to practise some mortifications in the house." 

21. With a view to heal the divisions which were 
disturbing Germany, Charles V., considering that the 
decisions of the Council were not drawn up quickly 
enough, undertook to regulate himself, provisionally r 
the belief of his people. He therefore caused to be 
published at the Diet of Augsburg a formulary of faith, 
which he called the Interim, and which contained 
articles directly contrary to the doctrine and discipline 


of the Church, such as the marriage of priests and 
Communion under both kinds. Of all the Doctors who 
opposed this Imperial usurpation, Nicholas Bobadilla, 
whom Ignatius had left -in Germany, was the most 
ardent and zealous. He was then at the Court of 
Charles V., beloved by the Catholic lords, whose 
conscience he guided, and feared by the Protestants 
upon whom he waged a relentless war. While resisting 
the Interim with all his might, his quick temper, which 
was opposed to all compromise, caused him to utter 
some rather bitter words which touched the person of 
the Emperor ; he loudly blamed the consideration 
shown to heretics, and maintained warmly, even in the 
presence of- Charles V., that nothing was more calcu 
lated to keep up division than a false peace. Charles V., 
with whom it was a point of honour to support his 
own work, and who regarded as rebels all who were 
not of his opinion, could not endure the freedom of 
Bobadilla. He drove him away from the Court, and 
ordered him to leave the Imperial territories. Bobadilla 
obeyed, joyful at being banished for God s cause, and 
proceeded to Rome, where the Truce of Augsburg 
had met with no approval. However, Ignatius, who 
was not as yet fully informed of all the details of this 
affair, did not think proper to receive immediately into 
the house of the Society a man whose zeal appeared to 
have carried him too far, and who, in defending the 
Church of Rome, had not perhaps shown enough 
consideration to His Imperial Majesty. So, without 
wounding the Sovereign Pontiff, he prepared an agree 
ment with the Emperor. 

22. In your sermons do not touch upon points of 
controversy with heretics, but aim always at the reform 
of manners and inculcate strongly obedience to the 
Catholic Church. 


23. Ignatius was even more careful about what he 
wrote than what he said, and he wished that his 
children also should be very careful as to their corres 
pondence. We read in one of his letters : " As often 
as I can I copy important letters twice, and even a 
good many short notes. I copy them twice with my 
own hand. Much more ought the different members of 
the Society to do this who have only to write to me, 
whilst I may be obliged to write to all. I can truthfully 
say that last night, having wished to take an account of 
the number of letters which I have now to send to 
various places, I found that it amounted to two hundred 
and fifty. People tell me that they are much occupied, 
but I am persuaded that, without being greatly so, I 
am so at least as much as any one, and my health is 
more uncertain than that of my correspondents." In 
another letter to a Father who needed a lesson in this 
respect, he said to him : " To-night I shall have to send 
off thirty letters, I shall not allow one to go without 
having read it several times, and as to those which I 
must write myself, I shall recommence them two or 
three times, in order to do away with the modifications, 
corrections, and additions which they will undergo 
before I send them." 



i. In the opinion of those most competent to judge 
who had access to Ignatius, it would have been difficult 
to find his equal among his contemporaries, in specu- 
latively conceiving a plan of perfect government, and 
the Constitutions which he drew up prove this ; but 
he was also quite as incomparable in applying and 
reducing to practice the ideal which he had formed. 

When about to decide upon any measure, in order 
to be free from the influence of self-love, he endeavoured 
to place himself personally out of the question, he 
looked at the case in point as if it were one that did 
not concern him, and considered it as if it were an 
indifferent matter upon which he had been asked to 
give an opinion. 

In ordinary cases, before deciding anything, he 
examined the matter thoroughly, he took into considera 
tion the exact temperament of those with whom he had 
to deal, he gauged its expediency, and the aids and 
obstacles which, whether remote or near, were of a 
nature to help or hinder him in his design. He wrote 
down each evening what was to be done the next day, 
and sending for those to whom he entrusted the execu 
tion of it, he pointed out to them the course to be 
pursued, and furnished them with directions best calcu 
lated to ensure their success. 


With regard to more important affairs, he first 
reflected upon them maturely in private, and he then 
submitted them thus prepared to the judgment of his 
Consultors. These were chosen with care from among 
the most skilful, and he did not admit to the delibera 
tion those makers of decrees (decretalistas) , as he called 
them, who are ever ready to decide at once and 
without appeal upon any subject. He was from the 
first much more occupied with the final result than with 
the organization of an undertaking ; he thought of the 
injurious or salutary consequences which would result 
from it ; he foresaw the contradictions that he would 
meet with, whence they would arise, and by what 
means they might be overcome. He distinguished all 
this at such a distance, that between him and the 
eminently wise men with whom he surrounded himself, 
there was the same difference of perception that there 
is between a person who, from the summit of a mountain, 
beholds an immense horizon unfolded before him, and 
those who, remaining in the plain, only see what is 
beside them. 

Except in case of urgency, he was in the habit of 
not carrying into effect immediately what had been 
decided upon ; but he waited several days, leaving his 
mind quiet as to his determination : he then again 
examined it, and had it examined, with this difference, 
that whereas the first time he had applied himself 
principally to judging the nature of the affair, he now 
dwelt chiefly upon the details of the execution. 

He did not send the letters which he had to write 
about the matter until he had revised and corrected 
them three or four times. 

Owing to this habitual way of proceeding, and above 
all to the wonderful perspicacity which enabled him 
to perceive from afar the results of a measure, he some 
times adopted such as at first sight disconcerted the 


prudence of the vulgar, and which less clear-sighted 
people would generally have considered diametrically 
opposed to the end he aimed at ; nevertheless when, 
contrary to all expectation, success crowned his under 
taking, they were forced to admit the correctness of 
his previsions, and it was clearly recognized that the 
course upon which he had decided was the only one 
that a wise man could have taken. 

Moreover, not counting upon himself in anything, 
but relying solely upon God, he was not satisfied with 
exhausting all the precautions which the most con 
summate prudence could suggest, but he continued 
for a long time to have recourse to prayer ; and what 
ever warrant for success the means chosen by him 
presented, he did not actually begin the work until he 
felt sure of the approbation of Heaven. Thus, although 
he had decided in concert with his councillors, before 
going on to the realization, it was his custom to say, 
" Now, it is for night to give us a last piece of advice," 
this meant, in other words, that he had now to treat 
of the matter with God in prayer. 

2. Ignatius did not allow a work to be undertaken, 
unless there was a well-founded hope that it would be 
permanent ; he considered that it was not worth begin 
ning what would only last a short time. 

3. The whole economy of the government of Igna 
tius with regard to his inferiors may be summed up in 
these two essential points : to promote the general and 
private good, by granting to each a share in proportion 
with his respective importance. One of our oldest 
Fathers, who had seen him at his work, described the 
government of the Servant of God thus: "Strength 
and gentleness ; strength he never lost sight of the 
end which he had set before him, and aimed at it 
constantly, generously, efficaciously, and undeviatingly; 


gentleness in particular cases, and in practical appli 
cation, he employed moderation, longanimity, and 
patience, as circumstances seemed to him to demand." 

4. "In order to remedy the fault of an individual, it 
is not proper to promulgate immediately a general law 
affecting every one indiscriminately ; and because one 
man has once abused the use of wine so as to become 
intoxicated, that is no reason to take up fire and sword 
to destroy all vineyards ; it is enough to moderate the 
strength of the wine by mixing with it the necessary 
quantity of water. Because one athlete has fallen in 
the course, it ought not to be closed to many others 
who may there find a favourable opportunity of dis 
playing their courage. To act otherwise would not be 
a proof of energy, as many flatter themselves, but 
would, on the contrary, betray weakness and pusilla 
nimity. To give such orders, it needs only to write or 
to utter three or four words, while to correct the guilty 
one would draw down upon one recriminations, diffi 
culties, and annoyances which a generous heart would 
despise and encounter, but which it is much more 
convenient to spare oneself. Hence the excessive 
multiplicity of laws which, in all ages, men of experi 
ence have declared a greater evil than the scarcity of 
them ; for laws can always be framed when circum 
stances require them, but when once they are made,, 
if they are trampled underfoot, the evil has no remedy, 
or if one still exists, it can only be efficaciously applied 
with the greatest difficulty." Bartoli records this 
important maxim of the government of Ignatius upon 
the occasion of what had happened to a novice who 
had been sent, according to the custom, to beg in the 
streets of Rome. This novice had met a gentleman 
who was a relation of his, and who, seeing the wallet 
upon his shoulders, and esteeming as a dishonour to his 


family an act which, done with a view to God, was on 
the contrary very honourable, overwhelmed him with 
reproaches, recommended him to change his state of 
life, and promised to obtain for him a position in the 
world more suited to his birth. The novice returned 
much shaken, and Ignatius had great difficulty in 
strengthening him in his first resolution. It was sug 
gested to Ignatius to suppress a practice which had 
narrowly escaped injuring one of his children so 
seriously ; but he would not consent to do so, not 
wishing that on account of the weakness of one, all the 
rest should be deprived of so valuable an opportunity 
of exercising their virtue. He was wisely contented 
with reserving henceforth to himself to grant leave to 
go to beg thus, so as to be certain beforehand that 
those to whom he gave it were in a condition to profit 
by it without danger to their perseverance. 

5. Two things especially contributed wonderfully to 
render the government of Ignatius gentle, and to make 
it loved : a great esteem for his children, and his tender 
love for them, a love devoid of disguise or artifice, a 
love which was sincere, and which came from the 
depths of his soul. It was a rare and wonderful thing. 
Each might think that he occupied the first place in 
his heart, he knew so well how, without prejudice to 
the attachment which he owed to all, to lavish upon 
each the signs of paternal affection. As to the esteem 
which he felt for them, he expressed it in terms difficult 
to believe ; he spoke of them as persons who had 
already reached the height of perfection, or who, at 
least, were proceeding quickly towards it. In speaking 
thus, he said what he believed to be the truth, and his 
opinion was in accordance with his words, his language 
was only the utterance of his firm conviction. 

The high opinion which he had conceived of all the 


members of the Society was maintained in him by a 
charity foreign to suspicion, which would not credit 
evil reports which might be made to him concerning 
them. Worldly wisdom acts otherwise, it is always 
distrustful, and turns a ready ear to those who speak 
ill of their neighbour ; but if it gains its end in the 
world which is, however, doubtful it is not so in 
religion, where such a practice could not be introduced 
without entailing the most grievous consequences. It 
would give full vent to malignity, which would not fail 
to calumniate even oftener than it denounced facts. 
Besides, suspicions once awakened, even by accusa 
tions unsupported by proof, would at least shake the 
esteem and weaken the affection hitherto felt towards 
the persons thus attacked. It would inevitably follow 
that to continue to praise them, and to manifest 
towards them the same sentiments as before, would be 
a wretched deceit which it would be too difficult to 
mask by an appearance of sincerity, so as to deceive 
for any length of time persons whose interest it is to 
see clearly where they are themselves concerned. As a 
consequence of their unlucky discovery, inferiors would 
imagine themselves surrounded by snares, they would 
retire into and remain shut up in themselves, they 
would take an aversion to their Superior, all of which 
would be most fatal to them. Father Gonzalez, from 
whom we have taken this, adds that in the matter of 
accusation against any one, the Saint did not even 
trust Polanco, though the equity of that Father 
equalled his judgment. 

However, since it would be as undesirable for a 
Superior never to admit an accusation as to listen to 
all indiscriminately from every quarter, Ignatius used 
great precautions when any one considered himself 
obliged to inform him of a real disorder which required 
to be remedied. He carefully observed the attitude, 


gestures, and countenance of him who was speaking to 
him, and endeavoured to extract the truth by numerous 
and skilful questions. When necessary, he commis 
sioned disinterested and skilful persons to collect quietly 
whatever information was calculated to enlighten him, 
and he took care not to condemn until he had received 
an unprejudiced account of the matter. In important 
cases, he went so far as generally to require the com 
munication to be brought to him in writing, and signed. 
He was more careful in exacting this when the 
informant showed to a considerable degree by his 
warmth of speech, his excited mind or exaggerated 
zeal. He was aware of man s natural leaning towards 
malignity, he knew that one sees what one writes, but 
not what one says, that what is put on paper falls more 
slowly from the pen than words do from the tongue, 
and that consequently there is more time to weigh it 
thoroughly. Besides, if the accusation should prove to 
be false, he wished to have in his possession the means 
whereby to confound the imposture of a calumniator. 
In this way he neither ran the risk of remaining in 
ignorance of what he ought to know, nor of allowing 
an innocent person to be crushed by the weight of an 
unjust denunciation. He formed his judgment still 
more slowly about the absent, who, being ignorant as 
to what they are accused of, cannot justify themselves. 

6. Knowing how easily any preference shown, even 
for those most worthy of it, excites the jealousy of and 
speedily causes pain to others, who are always tempted 
to see in such a preference contempt for themselves, 
Ignatius took every precaution to prevent it from being 
inferred from his words or actions that he placed any 
one above his brethren as to learning, prudence, or 
virtue. He felt secretly a special affection for Father 
Peter Faber, his first-born in Jesus Christ, and he had 


such a high opinion of his learning and capacity, that 
he considered him fit to govern the whole Society. Yet 
when it was a question of electing a Superior-General, 
Ignatius took care not to vote for him rather than 
for another, but contented himself w T ith declaring that 
he chose any one amongst them, himself only excepted, 
who should receive the greatest number of votes. Like-" 
wise, when Pope Marcellus II. asked him to give him 
two Fathers to reside with His Holiness, and labour 
under his orders for the reform of the clergy, he 
refrained from naming any one himself, and left the 
matter to be decided by the majority of votes. 

It is true that, in order not to deprive the posts to 
be filled of the services which those might render whom 
he judged to be best suited to occupy them, he did not 
refuse to give those who had to deliberate about it 
directions calculated to secure a wise decision ; and he 
placed before them the qualities necessary for the 
exercise of the functions to be performed, though he 
only set forth what was indispensable for a thorough 
understanding of the matter. In this way, without 
designating any one to his Consultors, he drew the 
portrait of him upon whom their choice should fall so 
well that they could not mistake him ; and he skilfully 
insinuated that in appointing him they would make an 
excellent choice. Thus this choice, without being 
openly that of Ignatius, was in reality his, since he 
had taken the initiative ; and at the same time he 
avoided the discontent and the murmurs which rise so 
quickly from the heart to the lips of children pretty 
nearly equal in merit, who see their father single out 
one of them as superior to his brethren. 

7. Ignatius would not allow any one, without his 
knowledge, to alter the practices in force, under pretext 
of removing an inconvenience or introducing an amend- 


inent. He was aware that a person who enters this 
path does not stop, and that to succeed in introducing 
one change is an encouragement to endeavour to 
obtain the acceptance of another. When authority 
yields thus on one point, everything may at any 
moment be called in question, and henceforth there is 
no longer anything stable, to the great detriment of a 
religious body, above all if it is still in its beginning. 
With this conviction he sometimes inflicted somewhat 
severe penances upon those who attempted to establish 
certain practices, sufficiently inoffensive in themselves, 
but of which the adoption, without the approbation of 
the Superior, seemed to him dangerous, on account 
of the example which it set and the imitation which it 
might provoke. 

Fathers Olave, Ribadeneira, and others, had gone 
to spend a few days of convalescence at the country- 
house. To amuse themselves, they had invented a game 
which consisted in forming themselves into a circle, 
and throwing an orange to each in turn. The one who 
let it fall had to kneel down immediately and say a 
Hail Mary. Ignatius heard of it, and the Fathers were 
punished, after they had been reprimanded. 

" If I were to live for a thousand years," he used 
often to say, " I would never cease repeating, No 
novelties in theology, philosophy, logic, nor even in 
teaching grammar." 

Under whatever specious pretext the modifications 
were disguised which he was asked to introduce into 
the received customs, he would not readily agree to 
them. He was asked to shorten the course of Philo 
sophy in favour of persons who, showing great talent 
for preaching, could thus labour sooner for the salva 
tion of souls, but he would not. consent to do so, and he 
required that they, like the rest, should devote three 
years to that study. 


Some Fathers at the Roman College proposed to 
stop the evening recreation amongst them, during Lent, 
and on the other fast-days of the year, alleging that the 
recreation was useless, since there was not then any 
supper, but only a simple collation. " I said so to our 
Father," writes Ribadeneira ; "he ordered that there 
should be recreation as usual, and he said concerning 
this : * The evening recreation has been established 
not only for the sake of health, and in order that appli 
cation to study immediately after the meal should not 
be injurious ; but it was instituted also with a view to 
brotherly charity, that our members might be together 
for a few moments, that they might converse, and 
know, and love each other. " 

8. " Of all the various ways of governing men, that 
is undoubtedly the gentlest, and produces the best 
results, which consists in giving to each, as far as 
possible, an occupation in harmony with his reasonable 
inclinations." In the disposal of offices, Ignatius 
took much into consideration what might be agreeable 
to those to whom he was to entrust them. For this 
purpose, he took care to know them well, and he 
questioned them kindly on the subject. He asked 
them the three following questions, requesting them to 
answer before God : " Are you prepared to accept any 
office which may be offered to you ? Are you inclined 
for one occupation rather than for another ? Under 
certain circumstances, if you had the choice, to what 
ministry would you give the preference ? " If he had 
reason to think that any one might perhaps have diffi 
culty in expressing himself freely to him on such a 
delicate point, he had recourse to an intermediate agent 
to sound him skilfully when not in his presence. When 
he had learnt the state of the case, whilst requiring all 
his children to be firmly established in indifference of 


will, and that obedience alone should cause a movement 
in any direction, he was very glad to employ them in 
a manner suited to their inclinations. Provided due 
submission were paid to authority, recognizing in these 
inclinations a revelation of their talents and aptitude, 
he endeavoured to make use of each by employing him 
according to his tastes and inclinations. In this he 
gave great proof of sagacity, for in general success only 
crowns those undertakings in which nature is a sympa 
thetic auxiliary, and not those which need a constant 
effort of will ; and when, in order to attain an end, self 
must be overcome with violence at every moment, it is 
speedily abandoned. 

9. In the opinion of the Servant of God, it was not 
labouring usefully to undertake a work otherwise excel 
lent, but the accomplishment of which injured a greater 
and more important good. He disapproved of the 
precipitate zeal of Father Adriani, who, having just 
arrived at Louvain, where he needed to make himself 
acceptable, stirred up the whole town against him, by 
acceding without due precautions, to the impatient 
desires of a young man who solicited immediate admis 
sion amongst us. For the same reason, on another 
occasion, he wrote to the Rector of Perugia, to forbid 
him to receive into the Society, against the wish of his 
parents, any of the scholars who attended the College. 
In making this prohibition, Ignatius had a two-fold 
object : on the one hand, he sought to prevent our 
classes from being forsaken by the young people, whose 
parents would have feared that the indiscretion of one 
of their masters might urge them to enter religion 
inopportunely; on the other hand, he wished that 
by voluntarily allowing their children to consecrate 
themselves to God amongst us, parents might have 
the opportunity, after the example of Abraham, of 


offering to God a more generous and meritorious 

10. In the early days of his conversion, at Manresa, 
Ignatius had suffered deeply from the disturbance 
caused him by the undecided answers of the priest under 
whose guidance he had put himself. Wishing to spare 
others the torments which he had experienced, and the 
harm which had been caused him by the unfortunate 
hesitation of his director, he endeavoured to leave 
nothing vague when his advice was asked. He used to 
answer the questions addressed to him clearly, and 
traced out for souls the path they should follow, in such 
a way as to prevent all possibility of mistake. This is 
what he wrote to a nun on the subject : " You say that 
there is much obscurity in you, and that it seems to 
you that the various and indefinite advice which is 
given to you contributes to such a state of soul. I am 
of the same opinion, and I think with you that one who 
states little precisely has small capacity to enlighten 
and direct. But the Divine Master, Who sees this 
want of help, assists us then Himself." 

11. Ignatius had a special predilection for those 
of his children in whom he recognized an energetic 
temperament and manly virtue, and for that reason he 
reproved them unsparingly for their slightest faults. 
Jerome Nadal and John Polanco, who were both men 
of eminent holiness and very dear to him, were in 
particular of this number. He excused nothing in them, 
and he had a two-fold object in this. First, by calling 
their attention to their least shortcomings, and by the 
frequency and severity of his reprimands, he strove to 
purify more, day by day, souls which he considered 
capable of the highest perfection, and which he per 
ceived earnestly desirous of acquiring it. Secondly, in 
their person, he meant to present to feebler natures an 


example of contempt of self, and of the manner in 
which they ought to receive correction, of a milder 
kind, which might sometimes be inflicted upon them 
for faults less worthy of indulgence. 

12. Whilst training certain religious of great virtue 
in a special way for their own good and for that of 
others, such as Fathers Nadal and Polanco, humbling 
them publicly and reproving them severely before their 
brethren, Ignatius took care not to lessen in any way 
the esteem of which they were so worthy. Therefore, 
in their absence, the Servant of God used to praise 
them, and point out the high degree of holiness to 
which they had attained. He thus maintained their 
brilliant reputation, and excited admiration for men 
who, far from being discouraged, became more firmly 
rooted in perfection in proportion as they were more 
rudely and frequently tried by the mortifications which 
they were made to undergo. 

13. Persons who were distinguished by nobility of 
birth or superior talents, and who had recently left the 
world, were the object of special solicitude on the part 
of Ignatius. He at first retained the honourable titles 
which they had borne in the world, calling them Excel 
lency, Doctor, &c., until they ceased to care for these 
vanities, and, ashamed of not being treated like their 
new brethren, they asked of their own accord to be 
spared these titles, and to be put on the same footing 
as the rest. However, as soon as he saw that the 
desire of perfection was sufficiently well founded in 
their soul to begin to construct the edifice of holiness, 
he tried them more severely than their companions. 
They were made to perform more painful labours than 
others ; the more noble and learned they were, the less 
gently they were treated, and the more he endeavoured 

.to strengthen them in humility by not sparing them 


shame. He continued to act thus towards them until 
they had forgotten what they were formerly, or at least 
did not appear to remember it in their relations with 
their surroundings. He used to say, "There is more 
than one good reason for acting thus. First, all must 
be made to understand that in the Society the most 
brilliant natural advantages count for little, and are 
even considered as nothing, in comparison with piety ; 
that no riches are current here but those of virtue ; that 
no one is great amongst us because he used to be so 
elsewhere, but solely because he has made himself 
lowest of all for the love of Jesus Christ. Moreover, 
the manner in which those behave who are conspicuous 
on account of some excellence is of great consequence. 
When they edify, their example produces the happiest 
results ; if, on the other hand, they scandalize, they 
caus e great harm. Constant experience proves that 
nothing is more useful or more hurtful to Religious 
Orders, than the good or bad conduct of those of their 
members whom high birth or learning places before the 
notice of all. Lastly, when men whose brilliant origin 
or great capacity attract attention, fail to fulfil the 
hopes conceived about them, and their religious family 
is obliged to send them back to secular life, it not only 
ceases to receive any service from them, but it has no 
worse detractors, and they do it all the more harm 
when they possess great credit and extensive influence. 
For this reason, as they ought not to be lightly admitted, 
and as great circumspection should be shown before 
receiving them, so also they ought to continue to be 
carefully tried." Ignatius behaved in this way to Father 
Loarte and many others. 

14. When Ignatius used to try a person to a some 
what extraordinary degree, he took care not to leave 
him between the hammer and the anvil to struggle with 


difficulties alone. Without this wise precaution he 
would have been afraid of throwing him into despair. 
Whilst, therefore, on the one hand he exercised him 
through the Father into whose charge he had given 
him, he, for his part, did not lose sight of him, and 
endeavoured to comfort and strengthen him. He 
advised the Rectors of Colleges to act in the same way, 
and he washed that when one of the two Superiors of a 
house employed severity towards one of his subordi 
nates, the other should encourage and sustain him, 
treating him with sympathizing care. He acted thus 
towards Gaspard Loarte. 

Loarte, a celebrated preacher and theologian, had 
been sent to him from Spain by the famous John of 
Avila. Ignatius received him, and treated him for some 
time like his other brethren, but having soon perceived 
how much he was capable of, and thinking the time 
had arrived for causing him to advance rapidly in the 
way of perfection by the practice of heroic acts, he 
placed him, for this purpose, under the guidance of 
Father Polanco, who was at that time Minister, with 
orders not to spare him. Polanco faithfully fulfilled 
his mission : he spoke to Loarte of nothing but blind 
obedience, self-renunciation, and death to self; he 
excused nothing in him, and rebuked him for his 
slightest failings in terms which drew tears from him. 
" Do not stop by the way," he used often to say to him, 
"the end must be reached." " \Vicked creature that I 
am," exclaimed Loarte one day when he heard him, " I 
must then prepare for torture." However, Ignatius was 
informed every evening of the struggles of his novice, 
and he used to send for him to talk to him, as if he 
knew nothing of what had occurred. The novice 
soon told his troubles, the Saint listened to him and 
encouraged him, excusing the harshness of Polanco in 
his direction, endeavouring to persuade him that it was 


the result of the ardent zeal of his Superior, who could 
not endure the slightest imperfection in his children, 
and Loarte withdrew, filled with new ardour. 

Polanco having one day asked Loarte what he 
thought of Ignatius, received this answer : "I think 
that he is all oil and honey, that is, all unction and 
benignity." "And what am I, asked the Father ?" 
" You," replied Loarte, " you are nothing but vinegar." 
This was repeated to Ignatius, who was much amused 
at it. Nevertheless he ordered Polanco to relax his 
requirements a little. The hopes of the Servant of 
God were realized ; after some months, Loarte found 
delight in what he had apprehended so much, and 
ended by wishing for and seeking humiliations and 

15. When placing any one under the authority of 
another, Ignatius did all he could to induce the inferior 
to think favourably of his future Superior, and thus 
to render obedience easier. He did this with good 
effect with Loarte before entrusting him to the hands 
of Polanco. He praised the Father to whom he was 
about to confide him, pointing out the good qualities 
which he possessed, his great virtue, his capacity, 
prudence, uprightness of mind, equity, watchfulness 
in maintaining religious observance, and zeal for the 
progress of his children and the correction of their 
faults. By this means, he inspired him with esteem 
for his Superior and confidence in him, and skilfully 
guarded him beforehand against the unpleasant im 
pression which the severity which Polanco was after 
wards to use towards him, might so naturally produce. 

1 6. Without ever losing sight of the end he aimed 
at, and without ever ceasing for a moment to pursue 
it, Ignatius proceeded towards it slowly, when needful,, 
and he hurried nothing at the risk of losing everything.. 


As he saw as yet, in very young novices, only tender 
plants freshly transplanted from the world into the soil 
of religion, and whose roots still necessarily retained 
something of the earth where they had been produced, 
he lavished delicate attention upon them, and treated 
them with as much gentleness as skill. He was full 
of condescension for them, and showed them only 
compassion and indulgence. He contented himself 
with what they were then capable of offering him, and 
gathered the little fruit which they could produce, 
without troubling himself because these fruits were 
rare, provided that he could have hopes of an abundant 
harvest in the future. In this he imitated the example 
of our Lord, Who, in order to detach those who enter 
His service from earthly pleasures, causes them at 
first to taste the honey of celestial pleasures, wiping 
away their tears, and supporting them in their weakness, 
until, seeing them gain strength, he gradually withdraws 
these first consolations. 

17. It is impossible to blame too severely those 
guides and spiritual directors who, judging every one 
by themselves, impose upon others indiscriminately 
the manner of life and of prayer which they personally 
have found useful, and who consider that those who 
follow a different path from theirs, are necessarily 
wrong. Such a way of acting is full of danger, it is the 
work of an ignorant man who does not understand that 
Divine grace has many different ways of communicating 
its gifts. The Spirit of God, though always the same, 
has many kinds of favours, and distributes them in 
various ways. Each person receives from God a gift 
suited to him, one receives this, another that. 

In conformity with this important maxim, Ignatius 
endeavoured to lead his children to perfection in the 
manner best suited to each. For this purpose, he 


adapted himself to the nature and genius of individuals 

in such a way that in him there seemed to be, as it 

were, as many different Superiors as he had subjects 

to govern. He observed them all attentively, he made 

a kind of anatomy of their soul, and he studied them 

thoroughly, so as to discover their character, qualities, 

defects, and habits. He skilfully gave them the oppor- 

i unity of betraying unconsciously their most secret 

inclinations and ruling passion, and he thus succeeded 

in knowing them better than they knew themselves. 

lence his manner of treating them, indulgent or severe, 

playful or serious, reserved or free, as he judged most 

xpedient for the kind of mind with which he was 

lealing. He did this with such ease that he appeared 

lever to have had any other disposition than that 

vhich he show r ed upon that occasion. He conformed 

imself so well to their turn of mind, and so thoroughly 

.ssimilated to himself their disposition, that they were 

:onvinced that he was only aiming at the same end as 

hemselves, provided there were nothing in it contrary 

o the Institute. It was to apply to the guidance of 

; )uls the advice which he repeated so often for the 

lirection of material affairs: "Accommodate yourself 

o things, and do not expect them to accommodate 

hemselves to you." 

1 8. Ignatius never encouraged lukewarmness in his 
children. He did not allow them to content themselves 
vvith a merely Christian life which, through fear of the 
lifficulties to be overcome, would have caused them 
:o avoid the obligations of their sublime vocation and 
to neglect the precious helps which it offered for 
progress in what is good. He therefore kept them 
constantly in exercise, rousing them by advice, warnings, 
md reprimands, imposing penances on them for their 
shortcomings, recommending to them the practice of 


examens, meditation, and inward mortification, in short, 
omitting nothing calculated to ensure their progress ; 
but he did this with prudent discretion, only requiring 
from each what he was able to give him. He took 
care not to measure any one by himself. Though, in 
order to arrive at the highest degree of sanctity, he had 
successfully tried the efficacy of the various means 
suited to its acquirement, such as rigorous austerities, 
prolonged prayers, distant pilgrimages, contradictions, 
spiritual consolations, aridity, temptations, scruples, 
and important works undertaken for the service of God, 
&c., he did not consider that in order to arrive at 
perfection, these various courses should be followed 
by all indiscriminately, he neither involved others in 
them, nor withdrew them from them unless reason 
showed him that it would be advantageous or hurtful 
to them. He never confounded the weakness of youth 
with the strength of the full-grown man, nor with that 
of the giant. He knew that the precious stones which 
form part of the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem have 
not all the same brilliancy nor the same value. In the 
vision of the Prophet, it had not escaped him that 
God had simultaneously attached to His car the eagle, 
the lion, the ox, and the man, yet their difference in 
appearance and qualities did not prevent the car from 
pursuing its course gloriously. All gave him their 
confidence without difficulty, and allowed him to read 
the innermost recesses of their soul. This was because 
they were convinced of the care with which he would 
cultivate whatever good he found there, without trying 
to tear it out, in order to replace it by a better, which 
he found doubtless in himself, but which God did not 
require from them, and with the desire for which He 
did not inspire them. In order not to discourage weak 
persons, and beginners, he only proposed to them what 
was easy, and quite within their powers ; in this way, 


besides, he made them aware of what they needed, and 
caused them to be inwardly ashamed at seeing that it 
was thought necessary to treat them so indulgently, 
and he roused them to make generous efforts to render 
themselves worthy of speedily sharing the trials of those 
more perfect. He treated Brother Bernard thus, who 
was sent from Japan shortly after his conversion -by 
St. Francis Xavier. Though he had already admitted 
him into the Society, he would not give him, notwith 
standing his urgent entreaties, a somewhat laborious 
office, until he had made him promise to inform him at 
once if he felt too great repugnance or fatigue in rilling 
it. This precaution had seemed to him indispensable 
in the case of a man who was not only a novice in the 
Society, but also a neophyte in the faith. 

19. Ignatius disapproved very much of those 
directors who only consent to undertake the guidance 
of such persons as are already inclined to piety. He 
himself was quite ready to be the first to seek out even 
the roughest and most unapproachable men, taking from 
each what he would consent to grant him, and endea 
vouring to bring to the observance of the command 
ments little by little those whom he could not induce 
to follow the counsels of Jesus Christ. He acted like a 
clever horticulturist, who is not satisfied with bestowing 
care upon the trees which have grown up straight and 
bear much fruit, but who also occupies himself with 
the crooked and unproductive ones, straightening and 
supporting some, pruning others, letting in light and 
air when they are overshadowed by others, and trans 
planting them elsewhere when the nature of the soil is 
injurious to them. Thus, without being dismayed by 
obstacles, he at first endeavoured chiefly to find out 
their character and the way in which to treat them, 
often employing for the same disease, according to- 


diversity of character, not only different, but even 
directly opposite remedies. If, after having used every 
means, he did not succeed in withdrawing a person 
from his vile ways, he was not discouraged, he did not 
give way to grief as if he had wasted time and trouble, 
but, satisfied with the testimony of his conscience and 
with having done his duty, lie quietly acquiesced in the 
unscrutable designs of Providence. 

20. "A Superior should treat his inferiors in such a 
way as not to give rise to any reasonable complaint, in 
order that they may be contented and serve God in 
quietness of mind." When it was a question of 
supplying the necessities of his children, or even 
merely of procuring some suitable gratification for 
them, Ignatius was far from showing himself to be the 
hard and pitiless man which the world usually repre 
sents him to be ; in this, as in many other respects, he 
has been unfairly calumniated, or at least not known. 
In reality kindness was at the bottom of his character 
and was his principal means of government. By it he 
won all hearts and disposed of them at will. 

He was pitiless to himself, it is true, but he was all 
the more full of merciful solicitude for others ; and 
instead of making the yoke which they had to bear 
heavier, he endeavoured to lighten and sweeten it as 
far as possible. He required, as was his duty, that in 
health as in sickness his children should abandon them 
selves completely to their Superiors in what concerned 
the care of their body, dwelling, clothing, food, and the 
rest ; but he took care to furnish them with what was 
necessary, and even, as far as possible, with what was 
agreeable. He paid great attention to this, and, which 
was a wonder in a man so detached from earthly things 
and so mortified himself, he went into the minutest 
details with the view of obliging those whose business 


it was to provide for the temporal necessities of their 
brethren to fulfil their office. The journal of Father 
Gonzalez, Minister of the Professed House, abounds 
with revelations on this subject which are as delightful 
as the) are unexpected. We have already mentioned 
some of them ; the following are no less characteristic. 

The Servant of God took care that the food of the 
community should be of good quality and prepared as 
delicaU ly as the requirements of religious poverty per 
mitted. He had desired the Father Minister to go into 
the kitchen three times a day to see how the meals 
were prepared, and to ascertain the savour of the food 
by tasting it. He wished the cook not to put in all the 
salt al once, but at different times, in order that the 
viands might be more equally penetrated with it. 

He liked to see his young religious do justice to 
what was served to them in the refectory, and one day 
when J Brother Benedict Palmius, then in the prime of 
life and in robust health, had afforded him this gratifi 
cation, he congratulated him and informed him of the 
satisfaction he had caused him. Fearing that perhaps 
in futrre the feeling of being watched when at table 
might cause him embarrassment, and prevent him from 
taking what was necessary, he ordered him always to 
act thus and to continue to eat heartily, adding that 
now ho ought to lay up a store of strength, which he 
would afterwards employ in God s service. 

Father Liscioli relates that whenever Ignatius met 
him iu the morning, when he was a young scholastic, 
he never failed to ask him if he had had any food, and 
if he replied that he was still fasting, the Servant of 
God sent him at once to the Father Minister to get his 

In consequence of his excessive austerities, Father 
Otelli had fallen into a state of exhaustion which gave 
reason to fear that he would not be able to continu 


the apostolic ministry. Ignatius undertook to manage 
him and to induce him to follow a regimen to restore 
him to health. He forbade him to open a book for 
three weeks, and caused him to take frequent walks ; 
he ordered him to shorten the time of his devotional 
exercises, and to lengthen that for sleep. He placed 
him next to him at table so as to keep an eye upon his 
food ; and in this way he set him up again so completely 
that the Father was afterwards able to preach with 
great success in the principal pulpits of Italy and 

Each year, at the approach of Lent, the Saint sent 
for the doctor who attended the house. All the members 
of the community had to appear before him and before 
Ignatius, in order that, after an examination of their 
strength, fasting should only be imposed upon those 
capable of enduring its severity. The tender charity 
of the Servant of God easily persuaded him that such 
and such persons were unfit to observe that law, and 
he desired the doctor to have no hesitation in granting 
a dispensation to those who would have difficulty in 
fasting. On this point he was careful not to refer to 
Father Gonzalez, his Minister, whom he knew to be 
austere and little inclined to indulgence. Gonzalez 
himself has preserved for us this touching incident. 

Ignatius having been informed that in Sicily all the 
novices indiscriminately, and even very young persons 
who were exempt from fasting on account of their age, 
had been authorized to keep the Lenten prescriptions 
in all their severity like the others, strongly reprimanded 
the Superiors whose indiscretion had granted this per 

When the Saint perceived by certain signs that the 
strength of one of his children was beginning to fail, he 
forbade him altogether to practise bodily penances, or 
at least ordered him to moderate their use so as not 


to injure his health. Once meeting a novice whose 
paleness betrayed his weakness, he ordered him to 
prolong his sleep until he should have recovered his 
former vigour. 

One day when Ignatius was travelling on foot as 
usual, his companion, Father Lainez, felt extreme 
fatigue. The Servant of God had only one piece of 
money remaining with which to supply their needs for 
the journey, but he did not hesitate to part with it to 
hire a horse for his companion. Then taking off his 
own poor cloak he wrapped him in it as well as he 
could, and in order to revive his courage he went 
before him like another Elias, walking so quickly that 
Lainez, though on horseback, had much difficulty in 
following him. 

Fathers Polanco, Gonzalez, Loarte, and Guzman 
had gone on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Loreto, and 
two of them were somewhat exhausted after travelling 
several days. Ignatius was informed of it and wrote 
them a -touching letter, a venerable and authentic 
monument and a remarkable relic of his fatherly 
affection for his children. It was, and perhaps still is, 
exposed in the room where he breathed his last and 
which was transformed into an oratory after his death. 
He writes as follows : " Your letters from Reati and 
Spoleto tell me both of the approaching end to your 
journey and the bad state of health of Master Polanco 
and Doctor Loarte. Considering that without due 
precautions that state might grow worse, I think it best 
for you to return immediately to Rome upon the receipt 
of this letter ... if your health permits. I lay it upon 
your conscience to use all possible conveniences for your 
return, making the journey on horseback, or partly on 
horseback, partly on foot. In order that nothing neces- 
.sary may be wanting, I am writing to the Governor to 
ask him to provide it. Come back therefore straight 


to Rome, without deviating from your way and without 
staying in other places, for the heat is beginning to be 
felt. . . ." 

When it was a case of serious illness and not merely 
a passing indisposition, the solicitude of Ignatius was 
redoubled and never ceased until his children were 
completely restored to health. Twice a day the Brother 
steward used to come to tell him if what the doctor had 
prescribed had been bought ; every evening after supper 
and recreation, when the others withdrew, the Father 
Minister and the Infirmarian had to stay behind and 
tell him about their invalids. When money was wanted 
to obtain what they needed, he would sell the pewter 
dishes out of the kitchen, and if that did not suffice he 
sold the bedding. He made a point of visiting them 
frequently day and night, and at the process for his 
canonization Father Ribadeneira stated that in one 
night he had known him come nine times to see how 
he was. He performed all kinds of services for the sick, 
even those that were lowest and most repugnant, 
washing them, sweeping their room, and making their 
bed. " I have seen him," continues Ribadeneira, 
freeing them from the vermin that were molesting 
them, that these troublesome insects might not add to 
their sufferings. " He thought of everything that could 
afford them relief. One of them was plunged in a deep 
melancholy, and in order to draw him out of it the 
Servant of God brought to him some young novices 
skilful in music, and who endeavoured to distract and 
cheer him a little by their songs. 

Knowing well that a heart which is ill at ease and 
contracted by sadness, is unfit to perform great things, 
such as he intended them to accomplish for the good of 
their neighbour and the service of God, he used every 
means to expand the souls of his brethren, especially 
those that were young ; he did all he could to produce 


and maintain amongst them joyous spirits, gentle gaiety, 
healthy good humour, and a pious and holy gladness. 
To them he was no step-mother, but a true mother in 
affectionate tenderness and delicate attention. He used 
to seize opportunities of affording them pleasure, and 
contrived pleasant distractions for them. He did not 
keep them always shut up in the house, but sent them 
from time to time into the country to recreate them 
selves in the orchards and gardens, where they could 
breathe purer air, take exercise, and divert themselves 
without prejudice to what was becoming to their pro 
fession. He took great care that there should not be 
any act, or even the appearance of any act, of such a 
nature as to make them suspect that there was not real 
love for them. Thus when, after having tried several 
Prefects at the Roman College, he at last found one 
who possessed the maternal tenderness which he had 
vainly sought for in the others, he ordered that he 
should retain his office for life, as he feared that 
he should not find a second who was his equal in 

21. In the world, the refined politeness upon which 
persons pique themselves is too often mercenary, if not 
mere hypocrisy. Feelings are expressed towards others 
which are far from being real, and are sometimes 
exactly the opposite of what is cherished in the heart. 
The politeness of Ignatius towards his children was, 
on the contrary, but the flower and aroma of his real 
esteem and tender love for them. He treated them 
with the greatest consideration, and behaved towards 
them as if they were really superior to himself, because 
his charity and humility made them seem so to him. 

He never allowed any of his children, even a 
Brother Coadjutor, to remain bare-headed in his 
presence. When they returned from a journey, or a 


mission, he was the first to go to greet them. " You 
are welcome," he used to say. " How has everything 
gone on ? Are you satisfied ? Have you succeeded as 
you wished?" He inquired about all that concerned 
them, and was unwearied in questioning them as to the 
place they came from, and the manner that they had 
lived, wishing to know if they had been properly taken 
care of, and had wanted anything. When they had 
suffered some reverse, he comforted them, and en 
deavoured to revive their courage ; if success had 
crowned their labours, he congratulated them, and 
thanked them for what they had done, as for a service 
rendered to himself personally, praising them, and 
using them as an example for their brethren. He 
used to keep them to dinner, saying to them pleasantly : 
" Come and do penance with me." He served them 
himself, and took pleasure in choosing fruit and offering 
them an orange .which he had peeled for them. 

He could never do enough to show them how dear 
they were to him, and he lavished the most delicate 
attentions upon them. To prove to them that he 
thought of them, he made use of the numerous little 
incidents of ordinary life, things of little value in 
themselves, but which became of high price through 
the good grace with which he turned them to account. 
The following is a striking instance. Brother Palmio, 
who had not yet received Holy Orders, was to make his 
first appearance as a preacher in our church. Wish 
ing not to speak into the air, but to do some good to 
souls, yet counting little, doubtless, upon the effect of 
his eloquence to attract and retain a considerable 
audience, Palmio was anxious as to the result of the 
work which he was about to undertake. Meanwhile, 
when passing along the street one day, he happened to 
meet a poor old beggar. Suddenly the idea came into 
his head to address this woman, and invite her humbly 


to be present at his approaching sermon. Ignatius 
heard of it, and this act of zeal on the part of Palmio 
pleased him much. To show his satisfaction, and to 
encourage him, he sent for him on the pretext of giving 
him some piece of work, and when he had explained 
it to him, on dismissing him, he said to him with a 
kind smile: " Do all you canto succeed. I also wish 
to contribute to the success of your preaching, and I 
will seek out some good old woman and send her to 
hear you, to increase your audience." 

22. Ignatius was particularly careful in choosing 
those whom he set over others. He desired to find 
in them sound judgment, prudence, and sedate and 
distinguished manners. But these natural advantages, 
which give prestige to those invested with authority, 
did not suffice, in his opinion, unless they were 
accompanied by religious virtues, without the support 
of which there is no solid basis for the government of 
others. According to him these virtues were, complete 
control over their passions, the fruit of victories dili 
gently gained over themselves, long-tried fidelity in the 
exact observance of all the Rules, even the smallest, 
intrepid courage in God s service, a fatherly heart 
towards others, and a will ever ready to obey. 

23. When Ignatius met with the various qualities 
calculated to make a good Superior in any of his 
children, he set to work to train him to govern. He 
tried him first by entrusting to him some delicate 
matters, and, in order that he might not have after 
wards to learn, at the expense of others, the art of 
guiding his brethren, he himself undertook to teach 
him, though without letting it appear. He often 
caused him to be present for a whole hour at the 
council which he held daily, and occupied him 
exclusively with one of the matters treated therein. 


When an opportunity occurred, he placed under his 
care certain persons who were difficult to deal with, 
and wavering in their vocation. He then let him have 
the direction of more important things ; but whilst 
pointing out various means of bringing them to a good 
issue, he left him full liberty in the execution, so that 
he was to consider himself, not a mere subaltern 
charged to carry out the project of another, but as 
working on his own account, after his own inspiration, 
for the success of a plan he had himself conceived. 
He thus compelled him to tax his ingenuity to provide 
resources for himself, and stimulated his ardour in 
carrying out the matter in hand. When he who had 
received such a mission had performed it, Ignatius 
summoned him to learn what course he had pursued. 
He received him kindly, saying: "Well! are you 
satisfied ? Has it all been as you wished ? How did 
you act ? " If he had conducted the matter well, he 
praised his prudence, if, on the other hand, he had 
failed, he comforted him, and showed him how he 
ought to have set about it so that it should not mis- 
carry. He thus insensibly made him gain the enlighten 
ment and decision necessary to fit him to act alone, like 
the eagle, which, circling round the aerie, invites its 
little ones to leave their nest and try their wings. 

24. Whilst maintaining necessary subordination, 
Ignatius left many things to the prudence of those 
whom he appointed to be Superiors. He chose them 
carefully, and neglected nothing in training them, but 
when he considered that he could trust to their wisdom, 
he left to them a considerable part of the initiative. 
He wished them to see with their own eyes, and not 
with those of others, and to swim without corks, as 
the proverb says. By setting before them in a general 
way the end to be attained, he merely sought to light a 


torch which might guide them, but he took care not to 
walk before them continually at the risk of casting a 
shadow, and of hiding from them the light by the aid 
of which they might themselves recognize the road. 
He did not wish them to trouble him every minute 
with questions of detail, and when they had recourse 
to his advice in some perplexity, he contented himself 
with answering: " Fulfil your office." He wished them 
to do likewise as to the different degrees of the religious 
hierarchy. Upon this subject Father Oliver Manare 
says : " When our Father Ignatius sent me to be head 
of the College at Loreto, he merely gave me some 
advice as to the way that I should act towards the 
Governor of the city, the Canons of the Basilica, and 
other persons without. I asked him what rules were 
to be observed, for I remarked to him those of the 
Roman College were, with some exceptions, unsuitable, 
by reason of the concourse of pilgrims, and various 
other circumstances, and the same was the case with 
those of the Professed House, which it would be very 
difficult to keep. He answered : Oliver, do what you 
see fit when you are upon the spot, and as God shall 
then inspire. Adapt the rules to the situation as well 
as you can. I also asked in what office I should 
employ each of the companions whom he gave me. 
He only gave this answer : Oliver, cut your coat 
according to the cloth that you have, only inform me 
what you shall have decided upon, and how you have 
distributed the different offices. Once I had to write 
to tell him that I had not acted according to an order 
which he had sent me, and I explained to him that I 
had done so because, having imagined him near me, 
and that I had set before him the matter, I seemed to 
hear him answer : * Do what you intend to do, for if I 
were with you, I should not order you to act otherwise/ 
He replied that I had interpreted his mind correctly, 


and added : * Man appoints to the office, but it belongs 
to God to bestow discernment and prudence. I wish 
you for the future to act without scruple, and to decide 
what is to be done, under the circumstances, notwith 
standing the rules and orders which you may have 
previously received. " 

25. The more subordinate Superiors see that con 
fidence is shown them, and that they are treated with 
consideration, the more, not to be outdone in their 
behaviour, will they be inclined to enter into the views 
of their higher Superiors, and apply themselves with 
zeal and ardour to fulfil their office. When any one 
is specially charged with a matter, he watches with 
greater solicitude for its success, he judges better 
what is needed to ensure it, and he receives from 
Heaven help suited to that end. As God helps the 
chief Superiors, especially in what concerns the general 
good, so He places more abundantly in the hands of 
those who have some particular function, the resources 
which will render them capable of fulfilling them well. 
But if the powers conferred by Superiors are confined 
within too narrow limits, the distrust thus shown to 
their inferiors sets the latter against them, and cools 
their good-will. They soon lose their interest in an 
undertaking of which the responsibility has ceased to 
rest upon them, and which is, as it were, no longer 
theirs. This jealous interference of the Superior, an 
interference in which self-love largely mingles, renders 
useless the assistance which God bestowed upon 
inferiors to make them capable of fulfilling their 

Moreover, as two things are necessary in order to 
conduct an affair well : namely, a certain knowledge 
of the matter, and a certain power to perform it ; and 
as generally that knowledge is only sufficiently possessed 


by him who through his office is concerned with the 
matter, since he has it constantly before him, if the 
Superior, who is less well-informed than he is, deprives 
him of his powers and takes his place, this great harm 
ensues, that he who knows is no longer he who acts. 
Hence in a community arise suspicions, conflicts, and 
discords, because those who were at the head were not 
satisfied with their proper place, and have invaded the 
province of others. This mixture of offices throws all 
into confusion, and causes the loss of order which 
should be the chief beauty there. 

Finally, let us add, that when he who is appointed 
to an office is bound beforehand by too rigorous 
prescriptions, he is rarely able to act usefully alone, 
for the greater number of resolutions to be made 
depend on the moment ; and the matter he is dealing 
with changes its aspect every day on account of the 
incidents which occur. Whilst bound by the order 
given him, the inferior hesitates, and is undecided 
what course to take, whilst, in order to make up his 
mind, he refers to an authority which is absent, the 
favourable opportunity vanishes, and never returns. 

26. The following is a beautiful instance of the 
unbounded confidence which Ignatius placed in the 
Superiors whom he had appointed. In 1553, internal 
troubles of a very serious nature disturbed the Society 
in Portugal. The situation was such that, to restore 
order, the Servant of God was on the point of going 
himself to that Province. However, after some reflection, 
he thought it best only to send a Visitor. His choice 
fell upon Father Michael de Torrez, Rector of Sala 
manca, and Doctor of the University of Alcala. Before 
his departure he told him his opinion about the matter 
in question, and gave him in writing various advice as 
to the course to be pursued to bring everything to a 


good conclusion. Moreover, as he placed entire con 
fidence in the virtue and wisdom of the Father, though 
he had entered amongst us not long before, he left it 
entirely to him to decide upon the spot what was best 
to be done, without attending to his instructions, if he 
thought fit. For this purpose he gave him a good 
many blank leaves, signed with his name, and furnished 
with his seal, which Torrez was authorized to fill up, 
as he thought well, and which he could send, as 
occasion required, as coming from Ignatius himself. 

27. It is not the office of the Provincial, nor of the 
General, to descend to all minute details, especially in 
temporal things. It is more worthy of them, and safer 
for the tranquillity of their soul, to abandon such care 
to the Superiors subordinate to them, asking them for 
an account of the matter when it is ended. I do this 
in the office which has been entrusted to me, and every 
day I derive great advantages from this way of acting ; 
it spares me much labour and many cares. I strongly 
advise you to turn your thoughts and cares chiefly to 
the general good and profit of the whole Province. As 
to particular things which it is your duty to command, 
and to have carried out, when necessary, attend to them 
personally, and take counsel with those whom you 
consider most experienced ; but as to the execution, 
refrain, at least generally, from taking part in it. Be 
like the mainspring of a machine, and set in motion 
by an authority which is evenly distributed throughout, 
the wheels which depend upon you ; these, acting as 
the proximate cause, will produce the effects proper to 
them. By proceeding in this way, you will accomplish 
much, without noise or anxiety, and will act in the 
manner best suited to your office. You will also have 
this advantage, that if your orders are badly executed, 
the fault will recoil less upon you than upon those 


whom you have made use of. It is much to be pre 
ferred that you should correct what has been badly 
done by your inferiors, than expose yourself to be 
corrected by them, if you have yourself been wrong, 
which would easily happen if you persisted in meddling 
in everything. 

28. When Ignatius had given some work to any 
one, he wished him to be left in peace to perform it, 
without being troubled by mischievous interference. 
"One day," says Father Oliver Manare, "when as 
Rector of the Roman College I was arranging our 
scholastics in little groups, as was the custom, to go 
and hear a sermon at the Professed House, one of the 
principal Fathers, thinking himself doubtless authorized 
by the confidence shown him by the Servant of God, 
told one of the young men to clean his shoes before 
going out. I, for my part, acting as if I had not 
noticed this, ordered them all to set off immediately. 
However, the Father, who knew quite well that I had 
heard him, and that I had purposely paid no heed to 
his interference, went to complain to Ignatius. The 
Saint listened to him with his usual kindness, but 
pointed out to him that he had done wrong in meddling 
with the office of another, and that it would have been 
better to leave the Rector to do his own work." 

29. " It would be very wrong to entrust to novices, 
on the pretext that they show virtue, especially if 
they are young, matters which they cannot deal with 
without danger to themselves. At that age, bad im 
pressions are received as easily as good ones, and a 
novice resembles those tender buds which hasten to 
open prematurely at the first signs of spring, but which 
perish through a return of frost." Ignatius was actuated 
by this wise principle when he had to appoint Superiors, 
yet he did not consider that he derogated from it by 



bestowing such an office upon those whom, in spite of 
their youth, solid virtue and extraordinary aptitude for 
government pointed out to him as already able to 
command, without harm to themselves, and with profit 
to their brethren. In such exceptional cases, he had 
less regard for age and for the length of time passed in 
the Society, than for the merit of those whom he set 
over others. This explains and justifies his conduct 
under the following circumstances. Scarcely a year 
had elapsed after Father Michael Torrez had made his 
vows, when he was appointed Visitor to the Province 
of Portugal. Father Quentin Charlat, who was received 
amongst us in 1552, was made Rector of the Roman 
College towards the end of that year. Father Bernardin 
Oliver had only been a novice a few months when 
Ignatius caused him to receive Holy Orders, and 
installed him as Minister in the Professed House, and 
soon after, as soon as he had finished his novitiate, he 
placed him at the head of the Roman College. When 
he sent Francis de Villanova to govern the College at 
Alcala, at the age of thirty-two, he was still a layman, 
and had no knowledge of letters, and he had to perform 
his duties as Rector whilst pursuing the course of his 
studies ; he was even admitted to make his solemn 
profession although he had got no further than Logic. 
Leon Henriquez, having been raised to the priesthood 
at the age of twenty-three, by a dispensation from the 
Sovereign Pontiff, became at once Confessor and 
Spiritual Prefect of a large and important College at 
Coimbra ; and shortly after, he was instituted Rector 
of that flourishing community, with the task of putting 
in practice the Constitutions which had just been 

30. Although Ignatius placed the fullest confidence 
in those whom he had appointed Superiors, and allowed 


them great latitude in the exercise of their authority, 
so as not to fetter them in their government, he never 
theless took care that this liberty should not give rise 
to abuse. Though he let the reins hang loose, he never 
abandoned his hold of them, so as not to be able to 
tighten them when necessary. He watched from afar 
those whom he had set over their brethren, keeping 
himself informed of the manner in which they fulfilled 
their office, causing them to render an account of it, 
and inquiring about it from others. When any one 
had left an important office, before receiving another, 
he had to undergo a public examination as to the way 
that he had performed his previous functions. Father 
Jerome Nadal tells us that, when he ceased to be 
Rector, he had to submit to the observations of forty 
Fathers, and that Ignatius reproved him sharply for 
the unseasonable severity with which he had treated 
his subordinates. 

31. When, in consequence of a certain type of 
character, those whom Ignatius had named Superiors 
did not perform their duties as he had hoped, and their 
maintenance in office would endanger the welfare of 
their inferiors, he removed them from it. This was 
particularly the case with two of his first nine com 
panions, men of great virtue and eminent qualities, but 
who succeeded badly in managing their brethren. 

Oviedo was governing the College at Naples as 
Rector, and Bobadilla had the office of superintendent 
there, as was then the custom. These two men, each 
holy in his way, did not work well together in 
managing the College : for the latter, who was easy and 
condescending, used to loosen what the former, who 
was more exact and severe, tightened. Bobadilla 
considered it mean to regulate holiness by small 
outward observances, and provided persons applied 


themselves to solid virtue, he cared little for the rest. 
Oviedo, on the contrary, thought that nothing was little 
in the service of God, and that the firmest virtue could 
not exist long without these seemingly unimportant 
external acts. When Ignatius heard what was happen 
ing at Naples, he deprived Bobadilla of the office of 
superintendent, and forbade him to disturb the govern 
ment of Oviedo, to whom he gave full authority to 
maintain domestic discipline, which was daily becoming 
more relaxed, and of which the relaxation might pro 
duce fatal results. 

The College of Coimbra in Portugal had begun 
most prosperously. A hundred and forty young men, 
nearly all of high birth, were there applying themselves 
to the practice of virtue, and the cultivation of letters 
and sciences with the greatest ardour. However, among 
such a number there were some who were too much 
engrossed in study, in whom the world was not quite 
dead, and who were insensibly neglecting the exercises 
of devotion, and regaining little by little thoroughly 
secular habits. They sought their own comfort, were 
careful of their person, and procured for themselves 
superfluities little suited to the poverty which they had 
embraced ; theirs became a grumbling obedience, and 
they allowed themselves to criticize certain dispositions 
made by authority. The gentleness of Father Rodriguez, 
their Provincial, was the cause of all this evil. This 
holy man, who had once cured a leper by sleeping in the 
same bed with him, and who had, still more recently, 
restored other sick persons to health by embracing 
them, did indeed edify his inferiors by the regularity of 
his life. But his natural kindness allowed each to act 
as he chose, he seldom reprimanded any one, and when 
he did, it was so mildly that it only encouraged the 
relaxation of those who needed a more vigorous treat 
ment. Ignatius having been informed of what was 


going on, resolved to destroy the evil at its roots by 
depriving Rodriguez of his office. This was not an 
easy measure to carry out, because Rodriguez was 
much beloved by all his children ; his easy-going ways 
pleased the lukewarm, and his eminent virtue delighted 
the fervent, who were too much occupied with them 
selves to notice the disorder which was gaining an 
entrance amongst them. Moreover, Rodriguez possessed 
the confidence of the King and the principal persons at 
Court, and it was to be feared that they would be 
displeased at the removal of the Provincial. However, 
Ignatius did not hesitate on account of these considera 
tions. After having informed the King of his reasons, 
he recalled Rodriguez, and appointed in his place 
Father Miron, whose firmness was to restore religious 
discipline in all its integrity. On his side, Rodriguez, 
as might be expected from such a man, received the 
order of his General with respect, kissed the letter 
several times which he had written to him, and in his 
transport of joy, placed it first on his head and then on 
his heart, as if he were beside himself. He himself 
solicited his dismissal from the Court, and withdrew 
into solitude, as he had received permission to do. 

32. On receiving amongst his children those who 
presented themselves for admission, Ignatius was 
careful to explain to them that they would not be able 
to remain in the Society unless they kept their will and 
their judgment ever subject to the yoke of discipline. 
Nevertheless, in practice, whilst never swerving from 
this principle, nor allowing the slightest infraction of 
the exactness with which religious ought to obey, he 
endeavoured to lighten the exercise of obedience to his 
brethren. He behaved towards them with such modera 
tion, that he seemed to be less their superior than their 
servant. When he issued orders, they had more the 


tone of a request than of a command. Moreover, as 
far as he could, he refrained from commanding, and 
knew how to attain his object in a different way. Even 
when he was obliged to use authority, it was thoroughly 
paternal, and accompanied by marks of trust and 
affection. Often, when he had to deal with difficult 
or unforeseen matters, he went so far as to give the 
reasons for what he required, and these reasons, drawn 
not only from human prudence but also from Divine 
charity, had always, for their beginning and their end, 
the greater service of God. He proceeded with such 
skill and care, he set forth in so persuasive a way the 
motives which actuated him, that those whom he 
addressed were not only brought over to his opinion, 
but adopted it of their own accord, and seemed rather 
to precede than to follow him. 

33. " When you are obliged to refuse something to 
those w T ho are still weak in virtue, temper your refusal 
in such a way that, far from feeling dissatisfied, they 
may withdraw better pleased than if you had granted 
their request. Do not imitate those ill-advised Superiors 
who, by the dryness of their answer, succeed better in 
reminding their inferiors of their authority, than of the 
fitness of the course they are taking." Whenever it 
was in his power, and he thought it advisable, Ignatius 
granted, without needing to be entreated, what any 
one asked for himself or for others, often even he fore 
stalled the requests which were about to be made to him. 
He enhanced the value of his concessions by the kind 
way in which he made them. In order to make his 
compliance more agreeable, he sometimes took pleasure 
in detailing the motives which might have caused him 
to give quite a different answer. On the other hand, 
when he was obliged not to listen to a request, he gave 
the reasons for his refusal, if the matter or the person 


admitted an explanation. He then justified his decision 
in so convincing a way and so honestly straightforward, 
that those concerned became entirely of his opinion. 
Convinced of the imprudence of their proceeding, they 
departed persuaded that to acquiesce in what they had 
desired would have been to do them a bad turn. What 
Ignatius had said to them remained so deeply impressed 
upon their mind, that if, not having asked for them 
selves, they had been merely intercessors for others, 
they endeavoured in their turn to persuade them that 
the refusal of the Servant of God was best for them. 

34. Ignatius did not wish that in a Superior first 
movements, especially those of anger, should completely 
cease, but only be repressed and restrained by virtue. 
He considered that in a community which is governed 
with too much gentleness, and in which tranquillity is 
only maintained by means of concessions and by 
closing one s eyes to many things, vices cannot fail to 
install themselves, like halcyons, which make their 
nests upon the surface of the waves when the sea is 
calm. Thus, when Father Oliver Manare, who was 
desirous of resigning the rectorship of the Roman 
College, came to beg him to relieve him of the supe 
riority, alleging that in the exercise of his office he 
often felt indignation, although he had already fought 
much with himself in this respect, the Servant of God 
refused to accept his resignation, and said to him : 
" You must not destroy this inclination, but render 
yourself master of it in such a way that, without ruling 
the Superior, it may aid him in keeping his inferiors up 
to their duty." 

35. Ignatius only addressed vehement reproaches to 
a man of great virtue, or one who had been guilty of 
a serious fault. As to the others, he often desired 
Superiors to take care not to alienate them by too great 


harshness, and he used to say to them : " Even a 
suspicion of your severity may be hurtful. You must 
not seem to be more irritated with the person than with 
his fault. When you have to reprove those who are 
not well established in virtue, and whose suspicions 
would easily be aroused, never use severity, unless 
constrained thereto by consideration for the general 
good, and to make a necessary example. By pursuing 
a different line of conduct, the distrust which you would 
produce would cause more harm than the good which 
you could expect from your reprimand. Moreover, 
when reprimands are unnecessarily frequent, they show, 
in him who thus multiplies them, less zeal in main 
taining discipline than natural impatience, and when 
they are too severe, they betray the agitation of a pride 
no longer under control." 

36. Father James Lainez had such a delicate con 
science that he detested even the shadow of an infraction 
of the Rules, however slight it might be. Unfortunately, 
every one did not resemble him, and sometimes when 
it seemed to him that such or such a point of religious 
discipline was not exactly observed in the house, he was 
grieved beyond measure, and he would complain of it 
to Ignatius. One day when he was thus relating his 
trouble to the Servant of God, the latter rebuked him 
severely, without even making allowance for an attack 
of fever from which Lainez was then suffering, and he 
said to him : " This animosity in seeking out the faults 
of others makes us feel aversion to them, and causes us 
rather to hate them, through horror at their imperfec 
tions, than to love them and aid them, in the hopes of 
the good which we may be permitted to effect." 

37. We have seen elsewhere that when necessary 
Ignatius did not hesitate to dismiss from the Society 
those who had rendered themselves unworthy to remain 


in it, and he used to say concerning this : " He to 
whom indulgence is useless for himself, at least becomes 
useful to others through the severity employed towards 
him." He also said : " To give safety to the body, 
gangrened members should be removed as soon as 
possible." However, he only had recourse to this in 
extreme cases, and after having used every effort to 
avoid it. When, yielding to some violent temptation, 
one of his children wished to leave him, he omitted 
nothing in order to disabuse him, and to retain him 
when on the edge of the precipice. He used to pray, 
and cause prayers to be said for him, he spoke to him 
with gentleness, and made others speak to him, whom 
he charged to put before him all the consequences of 
his fatal resolution. If this did not succeed, he called 
together some of the Fathers, and caused the tempted 
person to explain himself to them, laying bare his 
difficulties, and telling them why he wished to leave, 
that they might answer him and show him how 
unfounded his grievances were. It then often happened 
that the person burst into tears, recognized his error, 
and, with the same earnestness with which he had 
solicited leave to depart, begged to be kept. On a 
similar occasion, the Servant of God took no food for 
three days, which he spent in tears and in prayer, in 
order to obtain perseverance in his vocation for one of 
his companions. He remained the greater part of the 
night with another, by turns exhorting, comforting, and 
terrifying him, knocking at the door of his heart, until,, 
returning to a better state of mind, the afflicted one 
threw himself at his feet, implored his forgiveness, and 
offered to perform whatever penance his Superior saw 
fit to impose. However, Ignatius raised him up, and 
embraced him tenderly, saying to him : " Part of your 
penance shall be, never to regret having given yourself 
to God ; as to the rest, I will perform it instead of you, 


if God does not consider me too unworthy to do so, 
when my internal sufferings return." 

38. A novice desired to return to the world at any 
cost, and Ignatius had done all he could to dissuade 
him, but in vain. All that the Saint had said and done, 
in order to induce this unhappy man to give up his 
project, had only resulted in confirming him in it. As 
a last resource, Ignatius, not discouraged, thought of 
an expedient little calculated, apparently, to obtain the 
desired result. Nevertheless, the prompt and complete 
success of this expedient gave striking testimony to the 
sagacity of the holy Founder. Unable longer to resist 
the young man s entreaties, Ignatius told him that he 
was free henceforth to remain in religion or to leave it, 
adding that, he only asked him to defer his departure 
for a short time, and, as the price of the sojourn of 
several months which he had made with him, to consent 
to remain four days longer. He told him, that during 
this time he would be considered no longer as a religious, 
but as a mere stranger staying in the house ; that he 
would be quite free from the yoke of the Rule ; that he 
might live as he pleased ; that he could sleep, enjoy 
repose, come and go, in short amuse himself as he 
pleased. The novice thought that it was a joke, and 
though he was very impatient to depart as soon as 
possible, he was ashamed to refuse these conditions 
from which he would so soon be freed. He therefore 
accepted them ; and he had already spent two days 
giving way to his caprices, when, at evening, returning 
to his room to rest, he felt a bitter sadness come over 
him. He compared this with the sweetness which he 
used to feel in God s service, and this began to open 
his eyes, and to disabuse him of his error. He placed 
side by side these two very different lives, that of the 
cloister, and that of the world ; he understood from 


experience, that though the former does not offer the 
vain joys of earth, it procures, notwithstanding, the true 
and solid pleasures of a pure conscience, which beholds 
in God a Father, and tastes already by hope the delights 
of a blessed eternity; whilst the latter, after a short 
time, or at most some years, of miserable and shameful 
pleasures, which do not even delight the soul, leads 
fatally to grievous sorrows and endless torments. 
Before the fourth day, recalled to a better mind by 
these salutary thoughts, the novice came to throw 
himself at the feet of Ignatius, confessed his fault, and 
persevered ever after in his vocation. 

39. In order to aid souls in their various needs, 
Ignatius had recourse to all kinds of means, of which 
his experience had shown him the efficacy, and which 
rarely failed to gain their end. When, for instance, 
one of his children was a prey to violent temptation, 
and in danger of yielding, and not knowing how to 
resist longer, thought all was lost, he used to say to the 
poor afflicted one : " Supposing that a person who was 
attacked as you are, and reduced to a similar extremity, 
were to come to consult you and ask your assistance, 
what should you answer him ? What advice should 
you give him ? How should you set to work to 
deliver him from trouble ? " . . . He thus revived his 
drooping courage, by skilfully making him find for him 
self the resources which he did not think of, and which 
would cause him to come off conqueror in the fight if 
he consented to use them. 

Another expedient, analogous to the preceding, which 
the Servant of God also employed successfully, to aid 
those who were entrusted to his care to free themselves 
from their faults, consisted in making those subject to 
them speak publicly against such defects. When he 
observed any one careless in his bearing, and too 


unconstrained in his person and his manners, he 
charged him to explain to his brethren the Rules of 
religious modesty, and to recommend to them their 
practice: in this wa) , by teaching and exhorting 
others, the offender taught and exhorted himself, and 
the motives which he endeavoured to suggest to others 
to lead them to watch themselves on any point, acted 
at the same time upon himself, and served to correct 

When Ignatius met with a person who was firmly 
resolved to get rid of a fault into which he was accus 
tomed to fall, in order to aid his good-will by exer 
cising it, he advised him to ask a friend to warn him 
when he caught him in a fault ; or he told him to 
come every evening, before retiring to rest, to give him 
an account of the result of his combats with his inclina 
tions, his victories or his falls. 

40. The following is a curious stratagem by the aid 
of which the Servant of God succeeded in reconciling 
with life an unfortunate man who was on the point of 
committing suicide. " Ignatius was at Paris, in the 
street, with one of his dearest friends, from whom I 
heard this," says Father Ribadeneira. " Suddenly a man 
passed them who seemed beside himself, his features 
were convulsed, and his clothes in disorder, and he was 
carrying a large stone, the weight of which appeared to 
overwhelm him. Ignatius asked his friend not to lose 
sight of this stranger, but to follow him, to imitate his 
manner, and to do whatever he should see him do, 
promising that he would himself appear when neces 
sary. The friend did what Ignatius requested. The 
man left the city and reached a desert place. The 
friend of Ignatius did likewise. When they were 
alone, the friend asked the man what was his 
purpose in coming to this spot, and what he sought 


there. * I wish to die, replied the other, * I have lost 
all, I must put an end to my existence, and for that 
purpose I am here. The companion of Ignatius feigned 
agreement with him, and to have the same ideas. 
Life is a burden to me also, he said, like you I see 
no remedy but death. Ignatius then came up, and 
speaking to his companion, whom he treated as a 
perfect stranger, he apostrophized him thus : Who 
are you ? Where do you come from ? What do you 
mean by the state you are in ? The companion, thus 
interrogated, began by trembling, he hesitated, stam 
mered, and ended by admitting that despair had taken 
possession of him, and that he had resolved to destroy 
himself. Ignatius then spoke to him very gently, com 
forted him, strove to revive his courage, and said all 
that was needed to inspire him with different feelings. 
The latter seemed to be convinced, confessed that he 
was in the wrong, declared that he abandoned his 
project, and promised henceforth to seek the alleviation 
of his troubles from God alone. He did not stop there, 
but skilfully continuing to play his assumed part, he 
turned towards the stranger and said to him : What 
do you think of this, my friend ? For my part, I have 
decided to profit by the charitable advice which this 
wise man gives me. Death, it is true, would at once 
free me from the ills of this present life, which, however, 
could not last long, but this life is most certainly 
followed by another, which will last for ever, and where 
the evils endured are, without comparison, far more 
intolerable than those of this world. Death would not 
therefore be the end of my sufferings, on the contrary, 
it would be but the beginning of much more grievous 
sufferings, which will have no end. Struck by the 
sudden change in him who a moment before manifested 
sentiments like his own, and touched, above all, by the 
urgent exhortations of Ignatius, who now addressed 


himself directly to him, the stranger also yielded. You 
are right, he said, I was about to commit a foolish 
act, I admit my error, and I also will continue to live. 
He returned, thanking God for having so opportunely 
sent him this preserver." 

41. In order to open hearts to repentance, and to 
the hope of pardon, Ignatius was not afraid, when 
needed, to make confidences to others which were 
painful to self-love, and to disclose to them the weak 
nesses and errors of his life in the world. He did so 
especially in the case of a young religious whose lips 
were closed through shame, and who was much shaken 
in his vocation. He told him how he had formerly 
been the slave of vanity and of the perishable things of 
earth, and, by this means, brought back peace to his 
soul, and induced him to make a necessary avowal to 
his Superior. 

42. Ignatius did the same, with marvellous success, 
on the following occasion. There was at Paris a 
religious who was dishonouring his profession and his 
sacerdotal character by scandalous behaviour. Ignatius 
earnestly desired his conversion, but he did not know 
how to approach this wretched man, who, seeing in the 
life of the Servant of God a striking condemnation of 
his own, had conceived a great aversion for him, and 
took great pains to avoid him. Ignatius, after having 
consulted God in prayer, as he never failed to do in 
such cases, succeeded in meeting him. He managed 
this as follows. At dawn, one Sunday, he went out to 
approach the Holy Table as usual, and directed his steps 
to the nearest church, where he knew that, at this 
early hour, he would find the guilty priest alone. He 
went to him, knelt at his feet, told him that he wished 
to purify himself before communicating, and earnestly 
begged him to hear his confession, since there was no 


one else to whom he could apply. The priest, on seeing 
Ignatius, could not at first overcome a movement 
of repugnance. He was surprised at his request, and 
at last consented, though unwillingly, to what he could 
not decently refuse. Ignatius began by accusing him 
self of his present faults, which were merely those 
of frailty and inadvertence, then, alleging the need 
of humbling himself more deeply in order to be 
restored more completely to God s favour, he added 
that he would go over again some of the sins of his 
past life. He then laid bare to the minister of the 
sacrament, the picture of the follies of his youth and 
his past errors, with such a tone of compunction, and 
so many sighs and tears, that the latter was, in his turn, 
much moved. Ignatius continued, bringing out forcibly 
the grandeur of the infinite Majesty which he had 
outraged, his own meanness, God s great love for him, 
the ingratitude with which he had requited it, and the 
merciful patience with which God had waited for him, 
borne with and sought him unweariedly, and the for- 
getfulness of Him in which he has so long lived. Sud 
denly he stopped, his voice failed through grief, and he 
could not go on. However, he had said enough to gain 
his end. The confessor could bear it no longer. The 
faults of Ignatius reminded him of the far greater and 
more numerous sins which he had himself committed, 
so that he now understood his own dreadful condition ; 
he mingled his tears with those of his penitent, they 
changed places, and he now accused himself, and begged 
the Servant of God to help him to get out of the abyss 
into which his disorders had plunged him. Ignatius 
made him go through the Spiritual Exercises, and 
transformed him into another man who, by the severity 
of his penance and the holiness of his life, gave hence 
forth greater edification than he had formerly caused 
scandal. From this moment he loved Ignatius as much 


as he had before detested him, and always called him 
his benefactor and father. 

43. A Father was tormented with scruples about his 
Breviary, and was continually found reciting it. He 
passed whole days thus, and, not heeding the wise 
advice given him by learned and prudent persons, he 
used to recommence it several times, always fearing 
that he had failed to say it rightly. In order to cure 
such an extraordinary evil, Ignatius had recourse to 
means which were also extraordinary. He caused an 
hour-glass to be given to the Father that he might 
know how the time passed, and expressly ordered him 
not to devote more than an hour to the recitation of the 
Office. Whatever remained to be said after the hour 
was over was to be omitted for that day. The remedy 
soon took effect. Fearing on the one hand to disobey 
an order which only gave him the time strictly necessary 
for fulfilling his obligation, and dreading still more on 
the other to be obliged to omit to fulfil part of that 
obligation if he continued to preoccupy himself to 
excess with his distractions, more or less consented to, 
he formed the resolution of despising his vain anxieties 
and of hastening to say his Office as well as he could 
within the prescribed limits. He did so, and from the 
first time succeeded completely and recovered peac . 
Thus, by a skilful diversion, Ignatius freed him from -.11 
his troubles and drove out an imaginary fear by one 
which was stronger and better founded. 

44. The following delightful incident shows huw 
readily the Servant of God could make himself ail 
things to all men, which he recommended so often and 
so urgently to his children. One day two childi n 
asked to speak to him, and told him that their moth r 
had sent them to bring to their elder brother, who w -.s 
already in the Society, some sweetmeats which s 


had prepared expressly. Profiting by this opportunity, 
they told Ignatius that they also had resolved to enter 
the Society, and begged him to receive them amongst 
the novices. The Saint welcomed them very kindly, 
and talked to them in a fatherly way, encouraging them 
in their design and promising to grant their request 
when they were older, telling them that then, for their 
admission, it would suffice to present themselves again. 
" Meanwhile," he added, " I will myself take care of 
your bonbons, that you may some time find them again 
and enjoy them when you belong to us." Then, sending 
for Father Gonzalez, the Minister, he confided the 
precious deposit to his care, charging him to put it in 
-a safe place. As an extra precaution he told the elder 
brother to see that it was preserved uninjured. Many 
years after, when these children had become young 
men, they entered the Society, and Ignatius, who had 
not forgotten his promise, caused the little feast which 
Le had faithfully preserved for them to be served. 

45. A young Brother Coadjutor, who had been rich 
when in the world, had brought with him to the Novi 
tiate a crucifix, at the foot of which was a small statue 
of the Mother of God, both these objects being of great 
value. The novice was much attached to them, from 
a feeling of devotion doubtless, but also because they 
were a real work of art. Ignatius allowed him to retain 
them, without intimating to him that it was not in 
character with the poverty which he desired to embrace 
and without allowing him to suspect that they would 
afterwards have to be taken from him. However, the 
young man advanced rapidly in virtue, and in a short 
time surpassed his elders in the spirit of humility and 
mortification. Ignatius, who witnessed his progress, 
then said : " All is going on well, since this Brother is 
now detached not only from the world but also from 


himself, and the time has come to take from his hands 
the image of Jesus crucified which he now bears in his 
heart." The Saint was right : far from refusing to part 
with his dear treasure, the fervent novice joyfully sacri 
ficed it immediately. 

46. A novice had scarcely been received into the 
Society when he was violently tempted to leave it. 
What urged him to this unfaithfulness was his exces 
sive affection for his nephew, whom he had left in the 
world, and whom he was always thinking of. Every 
moment he seemed to hear this child reproaching him 
with having forsaken him, he who, on the contrary, 
ought to have been like a father to him. The novice 
was about to yield when happily the prudent charity of 
Ignatius caused him to perceive and avoid the snare 
laid for him. After having implored help from Heaven, 
the Servant of God sent for the novice unexpectedly, 
made him sit down by him and said, as if merely for 
the sake of conversing with him : " Long ago, when I 
gave myself to God, and was, like you, new in His 
service, I had to endure a violent assault from the 
devil in a matter somewhat ridiculous. Let me confide 
this to you, and tell you at the same time how, with 
God s help, I succeeded in triumphing over the enemy. 
I used to recite the Psalter of our Lady daily, using 
for this purpose a book which contained some pictures. 
One of them appeared to me to have a great resem 
blance to one of my sisters-in-law. Each time that I 
saw it a crowd of strange ideas filled my mind, and 
many recollections of the different members of my 
family beset and affected me. To free myself from 
this distraction, I had already formed the resolution of 
giving up the recitation of the Psalter, judging that it 
was better to abandon the practice of a little good than 
to expose myself to the danger of what was unsuitable. 


Upon reflection, however, I soon understood that I 
should be doing my enemy s work but too well, if I 
were to yield to his efforts, and that I should afford 
him great joy if I were to give up my pious habit on 
account of him. He was making war upon me as if I 
were a child, and I decided to repel him by ridiculing 
him. I fastened a piece of paper over the picture so 
that I could no longer see it, and the thoughts which it 
had evoked vanished at once." Ignatius stopped, rose, 
embraced the young man affectionately and sent him 
away comforted. The temptation was now conquered, 
and never again returned. 

47. Seventy should only be employed when the 
gravity of the fault or the necessity of making a salutary 
example require it. Superiors should take care, espe 
cially when they have to rebuke subjects who are yet 
weak in virtue and inclined to distrust, not to arouse 
their suspicions and thus alienate from them their 
hearts. They should avoid seeming more irritated 
against the individual than against his faults, for in 
that case, instead of effecting the amendment which 
they aim at, their severity would only increase the eviL 
Corrections which are too frequent and too severe betray 
a soul which is no longer master of itself, and show 
much more impatience in him who thus multiplies 
them than zeal for good order. 

A fervent community is not precisely a collection 
of men whose good-will has never a moment of forget- 
fulness or lassitude ; a fervent community is that in 
which relaxation never obtains an entrance with im 
punity, and in which the watchfulness of authority 
represses any infraction of discipline as soon as it 
appears. Thus, in spite of their generous ardour in 
conquering themselves, the children of Ignatius made 
it necessary for him from time to time to reprove them, 


but in this his deep wisdom manifested itself no less 
than in the rest of his government. 

He always proportioned the reprimand to the 
importance of the fault committed and the disposition 
of him who was to receive it, and he also endeavoured 
to make it serve for the amendment of the offender. 
When the fault was a slight one he only inflicted a 
light penance, which had rather the object of recalling 
to mind the existence of the law, than of avenging its 
violation ; and when he was obliged to act severely his 
severity did not exclude kindness. 

As he could express what he wished in a wonderful 
manner by his eyes, a mere look sometimes sufficed to 
recall to themselves timid and sensitive souls. Our 
Lord did this, as St. Chrysostom remarks, when, in 
the court of the High Priest, His look meeting that of 
Peter, who had just denied Him, He caused a torrent 
of tears to fall from the eyes of the penitent Apostle. 

Sometimes his reproaches contained more of praise 
than of blame, yet they produced their effect as surely. 
To a novice who was too unguarded as to his eyes, it 
was enough to say gently : " Brother Dominic, why not 
make the modesty with which God has adorned your 
soul shine in your eyes ? " 

On one occasion the only expiation which he 
required from one who had been surprised in a fault, 
consisted in giving him to understand that his failing 
had been noticed. There was at Rome a good Brother 
Coadjutor, a mason by profession, so diligent in his 
trade, and such an exact observer of silence, that 
Ignatius used to say of him that he placed more stones 
than he uttered words. One day when this Brother 
was working at a door inside the house, he let fall out 
of his dress an apple which had been given him to 
quench his thirst. Ignatius was present, and had seen 
all. The Brother was a little wanting in simplicity, and 


became quite confused. Instead of picking up the 
apple, he pretended not to see it, and turned another 
way to continue his work. However, Ignatius, with 
the stick which he was obliged to use on account of his 
lameness, without saying anything, and as if thinking 
of something else, purposely brought back the apple 
before the eyes of the Brother as often as the latter, 
quite disconcerted, turned away. When this little 
scene had lasted long enough, the Servant of God with 
drew, without saying one word of reproach to the poor 

On another occasion the merited punishment 
changed into a kind joke, thanks to the candid admis 
sion of the offender. A young novice, who was 
engaged in gathering fruit for the community in the 
garden, yielded to a temptation to gluttony and ate 
several figs. Ignatius knew of it, and sending for 
him asked him if it were so. The novice at once con 
fessed straightforwardly that he was very fond of figs, 
and having found an opportunity of regaling himself 
with them he had profited by it. " Very well," said 
Ignatius, " since you have been frank, I will enable you 
to gratify your taste." He sent for the Brother steward, 
ordered him to go to the market to buy a basket of figs 
and to take it to the novice, so that he might eat them 
at his leisure. 

The Saint used to act in such a way that each was 
punished by that in which he had sinned. He ordered 
the talkative to keep silence for a time, and upon the 
idle he imposed additional labours. In order to help 
the proud to acquire humility, he charged a Brother of 
very caustic temperament to come and reproach them 
publicly during meals with the little progress which 
they had made in virtue, though they had spent so 
many years in religion. 

These are also some of the penances which he was 


in the habit of having performed. To some he used 
to forbid intercourse with such and such of their 
companions whose society was not beneficial to them ; 
others he enjoined to take the discipline, &c. He 
sometimes traced a circle upon the ground with 
his stick, and desired the delinquent to remain within 
it until he sent him orders to leave it, and he used 
to add, as he went away: "Ask God to remind me 
of you." 

One day, finding a room in great disorder, he 
ordered its occupant to put all his little furniture, 
linen, books, note-books, &c., into a sack pell-mell, and 
to make the round of the house with this sack. 

The young child of a Jew recently converted had 
been entrusted to the charity of Ignatius and received 
into our house. In a violent fit of rage this child burst 
out into imprecations against some one, and ended by 
wishing that he might be thrown to the crabs. To 
inspire him with a salutary horror of the unseemly 
speech which he had made without fully considering 
its meaning, Ignatius thought of an amusing way of 
correction. He sent to the market to buy a fine crab, 
then calling the child he said to him: " Do you know 
to what sort of animal you have devoted your neigh 
bour ? I wish you to find out by your own experience." 
He then caused his hands to be tied behind him, and 
had the crab hung round his neck ; the animal 
struggling upon his chest, opened its claws as if to 
seize him. The child began to cry and to scream, 
protesting that he would never say so again. Ignatius 
let him struggle thus for some time, and then freed 
him. The lesson went home, and the child was cured 
for ever. He afterwards entered with the Dominican 
Fathers and became a Bishop. In his old age he 
liked to relate this incident, and used to thank Ignatius 
for having in a way so skilful and so well suited to his 


fault and to his age, freed him from the bad habit 
which he had contracted of uttering imprecations. 

Instead of always punishing inferiors for the faults 
which they had committed, the Servant of God some 
times laid the blame on the Superiors, who ought to 
have guarded against them, or at least put an end to 
them as soon as they knew of them. 

Thus, having met in the street two Brother 
Coadjutors who were walking in a way little suited to 
religious, he reprimanded the Father Minister, who 
ought to have had the prudence not to allow two men 
to go out together who were incapable of edifying each 
other. Father Sebastian Romeo, Rector of the Roman 
College, willingly allowed his scholastics to visit the 
Stations in the Seven Churches, on the days when 
Indulgences might be gained in them. So far so good. 
However, as this pious exercise required rather a long 
walk, the Rector allowed his young people to take with 
them some bread and wine, that they might not have 
to fast until their return to the College. 

Ignatius imposed a penance upon Romeo because, 
without sufficient reason, he had failed to maintain the 
observance of the rule which forbade eating outside the 
house. In vain did the Rector plead that he had found 
this custom established by his predecessors. Ignatius 
answered him: "You ought to have tolerated it all 
the less, because abuses which have grown to be the 
custom, become the more dangerous in proportion as 
their abolition is deferred." 

It would have been a great mistake to suppose that 
any breach of general discipline could be committed 
with impunity on account of the particular affection 
which Ignatius felt for certain of his children. When 
the mission was started in Ethiopia, Olave, Ribadeneira, 
and Gonzalez went some way with the two Fathers 
who had been consecrated Bishops, and who were going 


to their new flock. Olave and the others misjudged 
the time and distance, and proceeded so far that they 
were unable to return to the house before night, as the 
rule prescribes. Upon their return, the Servant of God 
imposed a fast upon each of them. As to Father 
Gonzalez, who as Minister ought to have set a good 
example to the others, he received in addition a severe 
reprimand; Ignatius even said these words to him, 
which caused him great pain : ** I am not sure that I 
ought not to send you so far that we should never meet 

Upon leaving Belgium to go to Rome, Father 
Wischaven had thoughtlessly promised to bring back 
some dispensations from the Pontifical Court for some 
one who had asked him to do so. He had not remem 
bered that, having taken the vow of poverty, he had 
henceforth nothing, and consequently, was unable to 
defray the Chancery expenses needful in these cases. 
Ignatius desired to make him feel his imprudence, and 
to render him more careful in future. For this purpose, 
the very day he arrived, he ordered him to take his 
pilgrim s staff, and to go and beg in the streets of the 
city until he had collected the necessary sum to pay the 
expenses relating to the dispensations he had promised 
to ask for. 

When reproving any one, Ignatius never lost his 
self-possession for an instant, his calmness never gave 
way, and he never said more than the occasion required. 
He first endeavoured to enlighten the offender concern 
ing his fault, and to make him admit his error. He 
merely put before him in plain language, carefully 
avoiding any exaggeration, with frankness and sim 
plicity, the facts just as they were. To point out their 
gravity, he only adduced motives drawn from the very 
nature of the things, and brought forward no considera 
tion foreign to the subject. Even towards those least 


worthy of indulgence, he never allowed any sign of 
passion or aversion to escape from him, nor any insult 
ing or contemptuous expression. This equity and con 
sideration went straight to their heart, and when they 
left him, though they might be justly dissatisfied with 
themselves, they were never so with him. 

Sometimes, when he had vehemently reproached 
those who deserved it, the only penance he inflicted 
upon them was to send them away with this one word, 
" Go;" but these men, who felt the tenderest affection 
for him, would have preferred the severest punishments 
to this coldness. 

At other times, he left it to the offenders themselves 
to indicate a penance proportioned to their fault. 
Thus, whilst giving to some the opportunity to propose 
more than he would have dared to ask from their weak 
ness, he gave to the fervour of others a precious occasion 
of showing their generosity. Nevertheless, ever prudent 
and merciful, he used to cut off something from the 
punishment to which they condemned themselves, and 
only allowed them to perform part of it. 

Even when he had been constrained to show himself 
inflexible and to display the greatest rigour, those who 
were the object of his severity did not retain any feeling 
of resentment against him, and continued to be attached 
to him. The following is an instance. The wish to humble 
himself and to do good to those who would listen to 
him, had suggested to Father Jerome Nadal the idea 
of going through the streets of Rome to gather together 
some hearers, and to preach to them in the public 
squares. This kind of apostolate was not relished by 
a young gentleman of Toledo, Francis Zapata, who 
thought it unworthy of the priestly ministry. There 
fore, in the house, when opportunity offered, Zapata. 
ridiculed Nadal, whom he called a quack and a wayside 
preacher. It was midnight when Ignatius was informed 



of this ; he immediately ordered them to awake Zapata, 
to take him his secular clothes, and to desire him to 
leave the house the following morning at daybreak. 
In vain did the repentant Zapata supplicate and make 
promises. Ignatius was immoveable. Nevertheless, 
Zapata retained no bitterness against the Servant of 
God. Having afterwards entered the Franciscan Order, 
he distinguished himself in it by his learning and 
holiness, and always showed himself most friendly 
towards Ignatius and his Society. 

Father Miron used to say of the Saint, " that he 
excelled not only in healing and closing wounds, but 
that he caused even the scars to disappear." After 
having, as justice and charity demanded, rebuked any 
one for his failings, the Saint felt nothing but the 
tenderest compassion for him, and as soon as he 
returned to the right way, he was received with the 
same kindness, and treated with the same consideration, 
as if there had never been any cause for complaint in 
him. Ignatius wished the kindness then shown him to 
make up for the pain he had previously caused him, 
and he thus endeavoured to lighten the shame which he 
might still feel for his former errors, by showing him 
that they were effaced from his memory. He never, 
by any tacit reproach, nor by any indirect allusion, 
gave him reason to think that his Superior had not 
forgotten the past. It might even be said that if he 
did remember it, it war, only to redouble his affection 
for him, and to lavish fresh marks of esteem and trust 
upon him ; and of this the following circumstances give 
us an excellent example. A Father in France, though 
an excellent religious, had falsely imagined that he had 
received important communications from Heaven, and 
he announced that dreadful catastrophes were about to 
fall upon a certain kingdom. The Superior had made 
every effort to undeceive him, and remove these ideas, 


but in vain, and he had been sent to Rome. Upon his 
arrival, Ignatius would only receive him into the house 
as a stranger, and upon the condition that he would 
believe what certain Fathers who were charged to 
examine his pretended revelations, should decide con 
cerning them. These Fathers succeeded in making 
him acknowledge that he had deceived himself, and as 
he was very upright, he submitted to all that was 
required. In order that he might expiate the obstinacy 
which he had shown, and which had caused so much 
trouble to those who had to guide him, the Servant of 
God then ordered him to go and shut himself up for six 
months in a hospital to serve the sick. He then admitted 
him into the house for some time, and employed him in 
the domestic offices of the Brother Coadjutors. Then, 
judging him to be sufficiently punished, he sent him to 
France, to govern a College there, with the office of 



1. Ignatius wished his children to have spiritual 
books frequently in their hands, and amongst others, 
the Imitation of Jesus Christ, but he wished them to read 
with piety and devotion, either to inflame the affections 
and increase their devotion, or to fit them for delivering 
pious discourses, rather than to enable them to discourse 
learnedly and make a display of knowledge. 

2. The Imitation of Jesus Christ fell into the hands 
of Ignatius at Manresa, in the early days of his conver 
sion ; he at once took such delight in this book that he 
would not part with it. He called it the pearl of 
spiritual books. Every day he read a chapter of it 
slowly, interrupting his reading to meditate at leisure, 
and collecting all the juice, as the earth which drinks 
in with avidity the smallest drops of rain. Besides 
this, he used to open the book every day at random, 
and read the page he lighted upon, and he always met 
with what he needed at the time, to lighten a trouble, 
to fortify him in weakness, or to enlighten him in a 
doubt. This book was his constant counsellor, his 
great consoler, and his inseparable companion, and he 
knew of nothing more precious to give, as a remem- 

brance, to those particularly dear to him. When he 
went to Monte Cassino to give the Exercises there to 
Master Ortiz, the agent of Charles V., he took with 


him as many copies of it as there were monks in the 
monastery, and left one for each ; it was a present as 
worthy of the donor as of those to whom it was given. 

3. While Ignatius was studying letters at Barcelona, 
several learned and pious persons, and amongst others 
his confessor, advised him to read the books of Erasmus, 
above all his Christian Soldier, as well suited with the 
greatest elegance of style to inspire a relish for virtue. 
The Servant of God read them, and even marked some 
of the most exquisite phrases and modes of speech : but 
he remarked that such reading was diminishing his 
devotion, and that the more he read, the less fervour 
he had in his Spiritual Exercises. Having experienced 
this several times, he threw down the book, and con 
ceived such a horror of it, that he would never read 
it again, and, when he was General of the Society, he 
ordered that the books of Erasmus should not be read, 
or at least that great precautions should be used in 
reading them. 

4. The Protestants in Germany, having tried in 
vain to obtain the admission of one of their emissaries 
into the Society, upon whom they had counted much, 
to manage intellects, and to cause their doctrines to 
penetrate them insidiously, tried other means, with no 
greater success. This was, to send from Venice to the 
Professed House in Rome, from an unknown person, 
under pretext of a gift, two large boxes of books 
calculated to poison youth. The cases arrived, and 
were placed in the library. Oliver Manare having 
opened them, found that the books at the top of the 
boxes were orthodox, but that those underneath were 
heretical. He told the Father Minister, Everard 
Mercurian, who also examined them, and ascertained 
that the greater number of these books were by Luther, 
Melancthon, and other sectaries. It was reported to 


Ignatius, who, recognizing immediately whence such 
liberality proceeded, ordered all the books to be burnt : 
he even had the ashes thrown to the winds as if he 
feared that they might infect the house. 



1. Man was created to praise, reverence, and serve 
God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul, and 
the other things on the face of the earth were created 
for man s sake, and in order to aid him in the prosecu 
tion of the end for which he was created. Whence it 
follows that man must make use of them in so far as 
they help him to attain his end, and in the same way 
he ought to withdraw himself from them in so far as 
they hinder him from it. It is therefore necessary that 
we should make ourselves indifferent to all created 
things, in so far as it is left to our free-will to do so, 
and is not forbidden ; in such sort that we do not for 
our part wish for health rather than sickness, for wealth 
rather than poverty, for honour rather than dishonour, 
for a long life rather than a short one ; and so in all 
other things, desiring and choosing only those which 
most conduce to the end for which we were created. 

2. Considerations set before St. Francis Xavier by 
St. Ignatius, and which obtained the conversion of the 
Apostle of the Indies : " * What doth it profit a man, 
if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his 
own soul ? If there were no life but the present, 
no glory but that of this world, you would be right 
in thinking only of appearing and raising yourself 


amongst men ; but if there be an eternity, as there most 
certainly is, what are you thinking of in limiting your 
desires to the present, and why do you prefer what 
passes away like a dream to what will never end ? 
Do you expect to obtain by your efforts something 
more precious than Paradise, more durable than 
eternity ? Are they not destined for you ? If you 
wish to win them, who can hinder you from doing so? 
When you shall have entered into possession of them, 
who will be able to take them from you ? Why so 
much toil to obtain earthly happiness for a soul of 
which the origin is celestial, and passing greatness for 
a soul which is capable of loving and possessing God 
for ever ? If the world could give you in a moment 
all that is most seductive which it has to offer, would 
you be able to enjoy it beyond the short time of your 
life ? If you were to live for hundreds of years, your 
last hour would come some time, and then, if you, the 
temporary possessor of a small amount of good, shall 
have deprived yourself of God for all eternity, shall you 
have been the gainer by such an exchange ? How many 
rich and great and powerful have lived in the world 
before you; has one of them carried away with him any 
vestiges of his riches, greatness, and power ? Arrived 
on the threshold of eternity, they have all looked back 
and seen these things already in the hands of new 
masters, whilst they went on alone, not to exchange 
them for new treasures, but to receive the reward of 
their works. The empty honours of earth cannot satisfy 
you, you heart is not narrow enough for the whole 
world to suffice for it ; nothing but God can fill it. 
I am not trying to extinguish your ardour for glory, 
nor to inspire you with mean sentiments ; be ambitious,. 
be high-minded, but let your ambition aim higher by 
despising all that is perishable. Decide yourself which 
Is best, whether to say now to all worldly joys, What 


have I to do with you ? Quid prodest ? or to enjoy 
them at the risk of repeating throughout eternity with 
the wretched victims in Hell these other words : What 
use have vanity and riches been to me ? Quid profuit 
superbia, aut divitiarum jactantia quid contulit nobis ?" 

3. In 1537, after leaving his native country Spain, 
the young Francis Strada had come to Rome in search 
of fortune and honours. Deceived in his hopes, he had 
set out for Naples, where he expected to succeed better, 
when he met with Ignatius, to whom he related his 
troubles and unfolded his projects. The Saint pitied 
his blindness, induced him to renounce the vanities of 
the world, and received him into the Society, where he 
became one of the most illustrious apostles of his time. 
To obtain this result, Ignatius put before him the 
following considerations : " Why do you not rather 
enrol yourself under the banner of Jesus Christ to 
combat Hell, and take Heaven by assault ? You 
complain of the world, which you have no right to 
do, for in disappointing your expectations, it has only 
done what it is in the habit of doing. What am I 
saying? Instead of complaining, you should rather 
rejoice at it. It is not in reality to have deceived you, 
to have shown you from the first what the Court is, 
and how ill-founded are hopes placed there; in this 
at least it did not deceive you. It would have been sad 
for you if you had been better treated, for then you 
would probably not have found it out until death, 
whereas now you can have some merit in renouncing it. 
This ungrateful world, which has rewarded your services 
so badly, itself warns you that you ought to quit it, 
and seek another master with whom you would not 
waste your labours and your efforts. Yet you act like 
those who, having suffered shipwreck upon one sea, 
re-embark upon another and seek a second shipwreck. 


You quit the Court for the army, you leave Rome to 
go to Naples : do you expect to find the world more 
faithful and grateful at Naples than at Rome ? If you 
interrogate the passers-by whom you will meet, you 
will find some who, on the contrary, are coming to 
Rome from Naples, enticed by the very thoughts which 
are now directing you to the latter city, and who are, 
alas ! seeking there what they would do much more 
wisely to avoid. For my part, I pity you more for the 
hope which you retain than for that which you have 
lost. If I were to speak to you like a true friend, I 
should even tell you that you are not made for the 
world, and that the world is not made for you. You 
will seek vainly elsewhere the peace and contentment 
of soul which are found in God alone. Whatever the 
world might do for you, even if it surpassed your hopes, 
it would never fulfil your desires nor satisfy your heart. 
With God, and God alone, you will have nothing to 
wish for. You know the nothingness of earthly goods, 
how then can they be the object of your desires ? " 

4. When Ignatius was still a layman, and studying 
at Alcala, there was in that town an ecclesiastical 
dignitary whose scandalous life corresponded little with 
the holy state which he had embraced. Ignatius went 
to see him, after having requested an audience, and 
announced that he was a stranger who had matters 
of the highest importance to communicate to him. He 
made the following discourse which, after provoking 
a terrible storm, struck down the repentant sinner a 
moment after, at the feet of his charitable deliverer: 
" Assuredly a worthless man, and above all a miserable 
sinner like myself, would not dare to arrogate to himself 
the title of friend with regard to a person of your rank ; 
however, my affection and devotion to you are such 
that, out of a thousand friends, there may not perhaps 


be one so sincerely devoted to you. I am more so than 
you are yourself, for it is your highest interest which 
obliges me to come to see you, it is the interest of your 
everlasting salvation. I love your soul, which is the 
noblest part of your being, and you bestow no care 
upon it. You are ignorant of what is said of you in 
Alcala, and I am not surprised at it. It is the fault 
of those about you, and who only allow that to reach 
you which will please and flatter you ; but what does 
astonish me is, that you do not hear the voice of your 
conscience ! Has God placed you in the world that 
you may think of nothing but diverting yourself as if 
there were neither a Heaven nor a Hell ? Is a blessed 
eternity such a light thing that it deserves none of your 
care ? If, at this moment, death were to overtake you, 
which God forbid, where would you be, and what 
would become of you for ever ? What account would 
you have to render, I do not say for the many blessings 
of which you have made such a bad use, but for so 
many souls which you have lost, and are daily losing ? " 

5. Laurence Maggio, being tormented, and almost 
overcome by temptation, wished to leave the Society, 
but before carrying out his resolution he came to open 
his mind to Ignatius, who, without opposing his design, 
merely said to him : " I only ask you to promise me 
that the first time you awake to-night, whatever time 
it may be, you will place yourself upon your bed, in 
the position of a dying man. You will represent to 
yourself as vividly as you can, that you have only a 
quarter of an hour to live, and that when that short 
space of time is over, you will go to render an account 
to God of your life and to receive your sentence. After 
several minutes, say to yourself: If I were really 
thus, whom should I wish to have obeyed God, 
Who calls me to serve Him, or the devil, who wishes 


to deter me from doing so ? Listen to the answer 
which your soul gives to this question, then say to 
yourself: Am I not certain to come to this some day ? 
Ignatius stopped, and the rest could easily be guessed* 
Scarcely had night come, when Maggio came to 
Ignatius completely confirmed in his vocation. 



i. Gratitude has always been considered as the 
necessary appanage of high-born souls, therefore it 
could not fail to shine most brilliantly in the noble 
heart of Ignatius. As its name indicates, gratitude is 
a two-fold knowledge, it knows for itself, and it knows 
for others. To be grateful is in fact, first, to admit 
plainly to ourselves that we are under an obligation to 
some one, whose generous conduct towards us has 
caused us to contract towards him a sacred debt of 
which we have no longer the right to deny the existence 
nor depreciate the value ; it is also to engrave deeply 
upon our memory the recollection of our debt, to see 
that it remains there, and to preserve it for ever with 
all its vividness. But this is only a part of gratitude, 
To be grateful, is not to bury within us what we feel 
inwardly, but to manifest it willingly exteriorly, by 
thanking the person towards whom we experience it, 
for the service rendered ; it is to show our benefactor 
on all occasions that he has not to do with ungrateful 
persons ; that his benefit has touched us, and that we 
take care not to forget it ; it is, above all, to be ever 
ready to reciprocate what he has done, and eagerly tp 


seize all means of doing him pleasure, sparing him the 
trouble of addressing a formal request to us or express 
ing a desire. Such was the gratitude of Ignatius, not 
only during his life, but, which is very marvellous, also 
after his death. 

He felt deeply whatever was done for himself or 
his children, and it was never effaced from his memory. 
Father Emmanuel Miona had fallen ill at Milan when 
going from Paris to Rome. The Regular Clerks of 
St. Paul and St. Barnabas, commonly called Barnabites, 
having heard of it, received him into their house, and 
lavished upon him with much charity all the care which 
his condition required. Ignatius was much obliged to 
them for this, and always retained a sincere gratitude 
towards them, of which he gave proofs upon every 
occasion. From this time the most intimate relations 
were established between him and them. He treated 
them like his own children, and they, seeing in him a 
father, reciprocated by addressing themselves to him 
with a truly filial confidence. 

2. A benefit only continues to be such provided it 
does not humble him who has been the object of it. 
A benefactor ought therefore to have regard to the 
lawful susceptibility of the brother whom he is assisting, 
and keep secret, as far as possible, in the depths of his 
heart, the generous act by which he has relieved him. 
On the other hand, he to whom a service has been 
rendered, is not bound to the same discretion ; far from 
It, he may, and sometimes ought, to make known the 
assistance which he has received, to the honour of his 
benefactor. Ignatius understood gratitude thus, and, 
whenever he had the opportunity, he willingly recalled 
the obligations which he had contracted through the 
kindness of any of his protectors. When Cardinal 
Contarini was mentioned in his presence, he took 


pleasure in saying that, after God, it was to His 
Eminence that he owed the approbation of the Society. 
If he had to write to the King of Portugal, John III., 
to his brother, Cardinal Henry, to Cardinal de Santa- 
Croce, to the Viceroy of Sicily, John de Vega, &c., he 
never failed to remind them of the favours which 
Heaven had granted him by means of them. Moreover, 
his gratitude was net limited by the importance of the 
benefit he had received, but without any thought of 
self-interest, he offered in return whatever was in his 
power to perform. He was not satisfied with rendering 
an equivalent, he gave far more than he had received, 
and never thought he had performed enough as long 
as there was any more that he could do. One day 
when he had gone to visit one of his best friends who 
was seriously ill, in order to comfort and fortify him, 
the latter, feeling his end approach, gave him two 
hundred pieces of gold wrapped in a cloth, and asked 
him to be kind enough to celebrate a certain number 
of Masses for the repose of his soul when it should 
have left this earth. Ignatius would not consent to 
receive the money upon this condition, and excused 
himself, alleging that the experience of others had 
taught him not to undertake what he might not be 
able to perform. Touched by the delicacy of the Saint, 
his friend begged him to accept the sum simply as 
an alms, which Ignatius agreed to do ; but, not to 
allow himself to be outdone in generosity, he offered 
the Holy Sacrifice for his benefactor a greater number 
of times than he had been asked to do so. 

3. Ignatius prayed, and had prayers said daily for 
all who had deserved well from the Society. See, for 
instance, the letters which he sent to all his children 
in favour of John III., King of Portugal: "Though 
it is to God, our Creator and Lord, as to the eternal 


source and principle of all good, that we must refer 
the honour and glory if there be any good in this 
least Society, yet it is just that with regard to the 
co-operators and chief ministers of His Providence, 
we should faithfully fulfil, according to the weakness 
of our powers, those offices which the sacred rights of 
gratitude impose, for the glory of the Divine Majesty. 
For -this reason, considering attentively how, among 
Christian Princes, the most serene King of Portugal, 
John III., has distinguished himself by his benefits 
conferred upon our whole Society, ... it has seemed 
to us in the Lord that it is right to excite you to that 
to which I am certain the greater number of you are 
inclined through a movement of charity. Let all, as 
well those who command as those who are under 
obedience, priests at the Holy Sacrifice, and all others 
in their prayers, remember daily, and name before God, 
the King of Portugal, the Queen, and their children. . . 
In this way we shall fulfil, at least in part, a sacred 
duty ; the remainder will be discharged by Him Who 
makes up for all our weaknesses." 

4. Ignatius considered it one of his obligations to 
go from time to time to visit his benefactors, to pay 
his respects, and he always received them kindly when 
they came to see him, though they sometimes appeared 
at inconvenient times. He kept them informed of what 
concerned the Society, conversed with them about its 
progress and its works, giving them the news of the 
distant missions which was most likely to interest 
them. He again assured them of his gratitude, and 
of his great devotion to them. If distance prevented 
him from going to them, he did not fail to write to 
them, and when any Father went to the places where 
they lived, he was desired to go and salute them as 
soon as possible in his name, and to carry to them 


from him, some objects of piety, such as rosaries, Agnus 
Dei, &c. 

In recognition of the charity of a pious ecclesiastic 
who, during his illness at Manresa, had brought him 
food, he begged him to accept the only thing then at 
his disposal, the Office of our Lady. 

The Prior of the Certosa at Cologne, Gerard 
Hammontanus, was already providing for the support 
of eight Fathers of the Society who were labouring 
in that city. Soon he was not satisfied with this. 
Having heard that at Rome, the Professed House was 
suffering much from its great poverty, he sent Ignatius 
five hundred Rhenish gold crowns for the necessities 
of his children. The Servant of God thanked him 
warmly for his magnificent alms, and granted to 
him and his community full participation in all the 
merits of the Society. As the pious Rector had 
expressed to Ignatius the wish to receive, through his 
means, some rosaries blessed and indulgenced by the 
Sovereign Pontiff, the Saint sent him seven, accom 
panied with this little hint which reveals, once more, 
the esteem which he had for whatever had been 
sanctified by the benedictions of the Church, and his 
zeal to bring again into honour the frequentation of the 
sacraments. * Generally, when I have occasion to 
distribute any of these rosaries to others, I make it an 
express condition that the person to whom I give it 
should as soon as possible make a general confession 
of his whole life, if he has never yet made one, and 
that afterwards, he should, once a month at least, 
approach the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. 

5. The Sovereign Pontiff, Paul III., had given the 
purple, without the consent and against the will of 
John III., King of Portugal, to the Bishop of Vich, 
a subject of the latter, who was displeased at this 


nomination, and would not allow the new Cardinal 
to go to receive the hat. The Pope, on his side, 
strongly disapproved of the behaviour of the Monarch, 
and complained of it to Ignatius. The quarrel became 
embittered, and a grievous rupture seemed imminent. 
The Saint, who owed much to both these high person 
ages, took much trouble to reconcile them. He first 
had recourse to God, Who holds in His hands the 
heart of the great ones of the world, and ordered 
prayers in the Society in order to render Heaven 
propitious towards what he was about to attempt. 
He then wrote the following letter to Portugal, to 
Rodriguez, to cause him to take action with the King, 
who willingly listened to his advice. On his side, he 
treated with the Pope, and managed the minds on both 
sides so well, that this difficult matter was easily 
arranged to the mutual satisfaction of the Sovereign 
Pontiff and the King. 

" Considering by the light of Divine goodness, that 
of all evils and sins, ingratitude is in my judgment one 
of the things most deserving of abomination in the 
sight of our Creator and Lord and of creatures capable 
of His Divine and eternal glory ; that on the contrary, 
the recognition of, and gratitude for the benefits and 
gifts received is loved and valued by Heaven and upon 
earth, I have thought it right to recall to your remem 
brance that, since our coming to Rome, the Pope, with 
great kindness, has not ceased to favour us in many 
things, and that we have even received special favours 
from His Holiness. 

" I have thought it my duty also to remind you of 
what relates to the whole Society, and what is more 
clearly manifest to you as an eye-witness, what obli 
gations we are under to the King, your master and 
ours in the Lord. In the first place, his benefits 
towards us are those of a Prince whom God, our 


Creator and Lord, has been pleased to enrich with 
His spiritual favours, it being His will to elevate him 
in all things, for His greater service and glory, causing 
to shine in him, by an effect of His accustomed grace, 
the infinite love of the Creator towards His creature, 
which has led Him, infinite as He is, to become finite 
and to die for him. Secondly, who are we, and whence 
do we proceed, that God should have ordered things 
in such a manner, that so distinguished a Prince should 
have thought of us ; that, yielding to his own impulse, 
or to the advice of others, he deigned, at a moment 
when we were not even thinking of it, and before the 
Society had been confirmed by the Apostolic See, to 
ask the Pope earnestly for several of us, and has 
favoured us in so remarkable a manner, at a time when 
many suspected our doctrine ? Thirdly, since your 
arrival in Portugal, no one knows better than you do 
all the benefits he has heaped upon us, though we are 
aware of them all ; he has shown towards you such 
affection, giving you temporal help, which all princes 
are not in the habit of doing, offering spontaneously 
from his heart, through the great love he has for us, 
to found a College, and to build other houses for this 
Society, which was so unworthy of it before our Creator 
and Lord in Heaven and before such a Prince on 
earth. This is not all : carrying his goodness still 
further, he deigns to receive under his protection all 
those whom we send to Portugal from here for their 
studies. I wished to recall to your recollection all 
these things, that we all, you in Portugal, and we here, 
tending to the same end, which is always to serve our 
Creator and God more, and always continuing faithful 
and grateful, in all things towards the persons to whom, 
after the sovereign goodness of God, we owe so much, 
should be ready to bear our part with all the strength 
given to us from above, in the annoyances which are 


so numerous in the spiritual as in the temporal order, 
which the enemy of human nature, with a fatal object, 
has striven to produce between persons of such high 
rank, and of such great importance. As you know as 
well as we do what has occurred, and is still going on, 
and how we are debtors and under great obligations 
to both sides, it only remains for us all, you in Portugal 
and we here, to take up our spiritual weapons zealously, 
since we have renounced for ever temporal weapons, 
to pray fervently daily, to recommend this intention 
with special care at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 
entreating God to take it in hand, and interpose with 
His grace in so difficult a matter, and so worthy of 
being earnestly commended to His infinite and sovereign 
goodness. Though I am firmly persuaded that, by the 
grace of God, the enemy will not triumph upon this 
occasion, nevertheless, it would be a great subject of 
trouble, and a serious injury to many souls, if things 
were to remain thus even for several days. ... I wished 
to write to the King, but I have given up the idea : 
considering on the one hand how insignificant and 
unworthy I am, and on the other, that you are on the 
spot, I thought it superfluous to do so. It is therefore 
for you to show him in our name and yours, and in 
the name of all of us, our profound respect for his 
person. However, if you should be of a different 
opinion, I should be willing to adopt it. For my wish 
and my desire in our Lord are, not to be wanting 
even in the smallest degree in consideration for such 
a Prince." 

6. Ignatius spared nothing, and imposed onerous 
sacrifices upon himself in order to aid his benefactors 
when he heard that they were in need. A terrible 
epidemic was raging in Rome, the whole house was 
full of our invalids, the care of them took up the whole 



of the time of Ignatius, and he could think of nothing 
but obtaining assistance for them. However, Doctor 
Jerome Arce, who had been very generous towards us, 
was attacked by the disease shortly after his return 
from Spain, and he had no one to take care of him. 
Ignatius could not reconcile himself to the idea of 
abandoning a benefactor thus. He therefore sent him 
the only Brother innrmarian he had to dispose of, with 
orders to install himself with the sick man, and not 
to leave him for an instant until he had completely 
recovered. He visited him himself daily, to comfort 
him, and render him whatever services were in his 

7. While Ignatius remained at Alcala, Dona Mencia 
de Benevente, who was then very rich, supplied him 
with abundant alms, which enabled him to live, and 
also to distribute help to the poor in the town. 
Afterwards, through untoward circumstances, this 
charitable lady was reduced to the lowest depths of 
poverty. Ignatius, who was then in Rome, having 
heard of it, recommended her most urgently to the 
charity of the Rector of the College at Alcala. However, 
that house, which was only just in its beginning, was 
itself very badly off, and even wanting in necessaries. 
For want of coverings to keep out the cold during the 
night, they were obliged to wrap themselves in their 
clothes to take their rest, food was in the same pro 
portion, and they practised a kind of perpetual fast. 
Nevertheless, to carry out the wish of their Father, 
and to discharge his debt of gratitude towards a 
benefactress who had fallen into poverty, the Rector 
and his Brethren imposed greater privations upon 
themselves, which enabled them to relieve the noble 
but unfortunate lady. When they received the small 
portion of bread which was served to them for dinner, 


they cut off some of it and put it upon a dish which 
was placed for that purpose in the centre of the table. 
These small offerings made altogether a portion much 
larger than each of theirs separately, and they carried 
it to Dona Mencia. 

8. Although Ignatius was very anxious that evan 
gelical simplicity should reign amongst the members 
of his religious family in their dealings with each other, 
he could not help giving one of his children an extra 
ordinary mark of gratitude, though upon an occasion 
which could not have serious consequences. Not 
content with having deprived himself of his patri 
mony in our favour, Father Peter Codure, Procurator 
of the Professed House in Rome, had taken much 
trouble to establish us firmly in that city. Thanks to 
his efforts, he had at last succeeded in really founding 
the house so well, that many people used to call the 
Society the Religious Order of Father Peter. Ignatius 
thought that he ought to show his gratitude to this 
benefactor, and to bestow upon him the prerogatives 
attached by the Constitutions to the title of Founder. 
He ordered that, in this character, he should henceforth 
occupy the first place, that all the Professed Fathers 
should give place to him, and that every year, upon 
the anniversary of the foundation, a little ceremony 
should be held in memory of the service we owed 
him. In order that this ceremony should be conducted 
in a fitting manner, the Saint inaugurated it himself, 
and presided at it the first time it took place. On the 
day which he had appointed, in the morning he caused 
High Mass to be sung, then, at noon, in presence of 
the community assembled in the refectory, towards 
the close of the repast, he rose from his place, went 
to the Father, and remaining humbly bareheaded, 
thanked him warmly in his own name and in that of 


the whole Society, dwelling at some length upon what 
he had done for him and his brethren. He then 
asked him to accept a wax candle as a pledge of his 
affectionate gratitude, with the promise of a large 
number of Masses and Rosaries which would be 
celebrated and recited for his intentions. Codure, 
bursting into tears, tried in vain to avoid this 
demonstration and to refuse the candle, protesting 
that his admission into the Society had long since 
repaid him far beyond his merits. When he died, the 
Servant of God, who survived him, besides the usual 
suffrages, had a stone placed over his tomb with an 
inscription in his praise. 

9. The last known act of Ignatius when leaving 
this earth, and at the same time, his first act upon 
entering into glory, was a gracious apparition to one 
of his benefactresses, to thank her and to encourage 
her to continue her care for his children. There was 
at Bologna a virtuous lady named Margaret Gigli, 
addicted to all the works of piety and charity, and 
much attached to the Society. At the moment that 
the Saint expired at Rome, on the 3ist of July, 1556, 
in the early morning, when she was still asleep, her 
room was suddenly shaken violently. She awoke with 
a start, and opening her eyes, perceived in the midst 
of dazzling light, Ignatius, his countenance radiant 
with joy, and with features of celestial beauty. He 
saluted her kindly, and said : " Margaret, I am going 
away, as you see. I recommend my children to you ; " 
upon which he disappeared. Full of astonishment and 
joy, Margaret hastened to relate to Father Francis 
Palmius what she had just seen and heard. She had 
never met with Ignatius when he was upon earth, yet 
she drew his portrait so correctly, that those who had 
lived in the greatest familiarity with him could not 



have done so more truthfully. However, as at Bologna 
they were not aware of the death, or even of the illness 
of the Servant of God, the Fathers were incredulous 
about the account given by Palmio, until, some days 
later, hearing of the decease of the Saint, they knew 
that the time when he had expired was precisely that 
of his apparition. 

10. When leaving Barcelona for the last time, 
Ignatius wished to show his gratitude to John Pascal, 
the son of his hostess, for the care he had bestowed 
upon him during his stay in that city. For this 
purpose he deprived himself of a small crucifix which 
he always wore upon his breast, and which had long 
been his sole companion in his journeys, and his only 
comforter in his sufferings. He afterwards, up to the 
close of his life, never abandoned this young man, and 
he often wrote to him to encourage and sustain him 
under the heavy trials which he had foretold to him as 
necessary for his salvation. Besides this, when the 
Servant of God had exchanged his exile here for his 
fatherland, Heaven, he appeared to Pascal, to support 
him again, and to give him fresh assurance of his ever 
lasting beatitude. This occurrence was much noised 
abroad in Spain when it took place. The following 
are the details which the historians of the Saint have 
transmitted to us. For forty years, John Pascal had 
had the pious habit of being present daily at Matins 
in the large church at Barcelona, near the tomb of 
St. Eulalia. One day he came much sooner than 
usual, and as he had to wait a long time before they 
began the Office, he knelt upon the steps of the altar 
and began to pray. A new misfortune had just 
happened to him, and he fervently implored help from 
God, and from his venerated protector, of whose death 
he had lately heard. " Father," he ; cried, sighing, 


" your prediction was but too true, and you see now, 
from Heaven, what you foresaw when upon earth. 
Oh ! I conjure you, if you do not deliver me from my 
troubles, at least obtain for me that I may bear them 
patiently, that they may merit for me the happiness 
which you formerly promised to me." Scarcely had 
he ended these words, when he heard in the distance 
the most enchanting harmony, which seemed gradually 
to approach. Soon he saw enter by the door near the 
altar, to the left, a numerous troop of celestial spirits 
and acolytes of great beauty. When they were all 
arranged round the altar, a venerable man, of almost 
Divine aspect, in stole and cope, came into the midst 
of them. Until then, the church had remained plunged 
in the deepest darkness, for it was winter, and it had 
only just struck four in the morning, but when this 
personage appeared, it was flooded with such light, that 
it seemed all on fire. The priest stopped at the tomb 
of St. Eulalia, made a profound inclination before the 
Blessed Sacrament, and taking the censer from one of 
the acolytes, incensed several times. At the same time a 
sweet odour filled the church. At last, this troop of the 
Blessed went towards the opposite door, to the right 
of the altar, where John Pascal was, astonished at this 
spectacle, and not knowing whether to believe what he 
saw. When he passed him, the priest who presided 
over the ceremony turned towards him, looked at him 
fixedly, as if surprised that he had not been recognized, 
and made him a sign to approach. In an instant the 
eyes of Pascal were opened ; he recognized Ignatius, 
and rising hastily, ran to him. Ignatius received him 
with a smiling countenance, asked him familiarly if 
he remembered him, protesting that for his part he 
had never forgotten him ; he then consoled him, and 
repeated the assurance which he had formerly given 
him of his future happiness. Pascal asked leave from 


the Saint to embrace him, and approached to do so, 
but the latter blessed him and vanished with all his 
companions. " Oh, Father ! Oh, my Father Ignatius ! " 
cried Pascal. At the noise which he made, the Canons 
hastened there ; they found him beside himself, and 
shedding a torrent of tears ; they questioned him, 
and Pascal related what had happened to him. He 
retained to the end of his life such a vivid impression 
of this vision, that the remembrance of Ignatius 
sweetened henceforth all that he had to endure. 

11. At Naples the Prince of Stigliano had bestowed 
more than one mark of favour upon the children of the 
Society, and in 1610 he had bestirred himself much 
to have celebrated in our church, with all possible 
magnificence, the feast of Ignatius, who had lately 
been beatified. The following night, the Servant of 
God appeared to the Venerable Father Julius Manci- 
nelli, and, in order to thank the Prince for the trouble 
which he had taken to make him worthily honoured, 
he revealed to the Father various events concerning 
this nobleman, charging him at the same time to 
transmit to him certain particular advice which would 
be profitable to him for the success of his affairs. 
Father Mancinelli asked Father Negroni, the friend 
of the Prince, and the Father Director of the Congrega 
tion of Nobles, at the meetings of which the Prince 
was often present, to communicate to him what the 
Saint wished him to know. Shortly after, the pre 
diction of the Saint was fulfilled. 

12. In a certain place in Ireland, some religious, 
jealous of the concourse of people which our church 
attracted, had addressed a memorial to the Governor, 
in which they entreated him to force us to leave the 
town. Instead of acceding to this unjust request, 



the Governor tore up the memorial as soon as he 
received it, and trod upon the pieces ; he then sent 
word to our Fathers not to be uneasy, but to count 
upon his protection and the good- will of the inhabitants. 
Ignatius hastened to inform him that he was grateful to 
him for having taken up the defence of his children. 
He appeared to him from the height of glory, and after 
having thanked him with a kind smile, disappeared, 
saying : " You will soon follow me." 

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